Residents Disturbed by Noise from Kentish Flats Extension

Some residents have experienced disturbance from the piling work currently undertaken 7km offshore Herne Bay and Whitstable in Kent.

The Swedish energy giant, Vattenfall, is currently installing foundations at the 49.5MW Kentish Flats Extension offshore wind farm comprising 15 turbines.

Adam Ezzamel, Foundations Package Manager, pointed out the reasons behind noisy work at different times throughout the day and night.

“First and foremost when we planned our initial schedule we had to work within timing restrictions imposed by the Marine Management Organisation which stated that we could not construct during the herring spawning season.  This restriction officially ended on 30 April,” said Ezzamel.

Working in a tidal area, GeoSea’s offshore wind installation vessel, Neptune, can only be positioned in slack water to ensure the safety of the operation and the workforce on board.

After this, the vessels needs to return to Sheerness to reload two foundations which is also a time-consuming process as it needs to be towed by tugs into the harbour. The loading of components is also dependent on weather conditions.

“All these issues make it difficult to plan exactly when we can pile.  Of course, the preference would be to only work days but this would have the potential for huge delays if we have to co-ordinate daylight hours, tides and weather windows.  It would also extend the disruption to fishermen and other water users which we have tried to avoid. Working offshore is unique, very unpredictable and we have to therefore make use of available opportunities to conclude works as soon as possible,” added Ezzamel.

Two more installations will be carried out today while the company believes the three remaining foundations to be installed by the end of the week.

Image: vattenfall