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Turbine firm scraps UK factory plan

Danish-owned wind turbine company Vestas has dropped plans to build a factory in Kent.

The company had only recently been granted planning permission for a new plant at Sheerness on the Isle of Sheppey to build turbines for the offshore wind industry.

The development was seen as a boost for the UK’s renewable energy sector and followed Vestas’ controversial decision three years ago to close a factory on the Isle of Wight with the loss of hundreds of jobs.

It was also viewed as a massive boost for Kent after drug giant Pfizer said it would be shedding more than 2,000 jobs when it shuts its renowned research and development facility at Sandwich.

The reason for Vestas’ decision is unclear, but the local authority, Swale Borough Council, said the company had recently undergone major management changes and faced big financial challenges.

In a statement, the Port of Sheerness and Vestas said: “The Port of Sheerness and Vestas have jointly announced that further development of a Vestas facility at the port will not proceed at this stage.

“Port of Sheerness and Vestas thank both the local council and community for their great co-operation to date.”

Juan Araluce, chief sales officer at Vestas Wind Systems A/S, said: “Vestas’ strong commitment to the development of both the offshore and onshore wind industries is not affected by this decision.

“We will remain active across the two markets in the UK as they both continue to show considerable potential.”