Vestas wind turbine plant in Kent given approval

Wind farm installation
Image caption Councillors want Vestas to ensure that 50% of workers employed during the construction phase come from Kent

A plan to build wind turbines in Kent, with the creation of about 1,600 jobs, has been given approval.

Vestas, which supplies 40% of the world's offshore turbines, wants to build a new site at Sheerness Dock on the Isle of Sheppey.

The planning committee of Swale Borough Council approved the Danish firm's application at a meeting on Thursday.

The government will now consider the planning application for the plant before giving the final go-ahead.

Originally, Vestas had said 2,000 jobs would be created and has signed an agreement for 70 hectares (700,000 sq m) of land.

The company said about half of the revised job total would be created in 2012, with the rest of the workforce recruited by 2020.

Local skills

Swale Borough councillor Steve Worrall, who represents Sheerness West, said he had fears over the number of jobs that would go to Sheppey residents.

"I have concerns that they will be importing labour to the detriment of local people," he said.

Councillors want Vestas to ensure that 50% workers employed during the construction phase come from Kent, with 15% of those from Swale.

Councillor John Wright, cabinet member for regeneration, said: "The sort of skills that Vestas are looking for are those engineering skills which are predominant around the Port of Sheerness."

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