Test mast gets final nod on windy docks

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Work on building an 80-foot wind test mast on Preston’s dock estate could get underway in a matter of days after plans cleared a final hurdle.

The city’s planning committee gave the go-ahead yesterday for the mast to guage the wind strength near the Ribble Estuary ahead of a possible £50m turbine project.

The project had already been given the green light last year, but had to go back before councillors after alterations to the mast’s design and an extension of the test period from one year to two. The original plan had been for a lattice design mast, but that has now been upgraded to a solid pole secured by guy wires.

The experiment will assess whether the winds are strong enough and frequent enough to sustain three turbines, each up to 120-metres tall, to generate electricity. “The mast won’t be generating energy - it will be measuring the wind to see if it’s worth pursuing,” said Coun Robert Boswell.