Nelson may be turning in his grave. Spain is planning the world’s biggest wind farm on the site of the Battle of Trafalgar.
The scheme has enraged some British Nelson aficionados who fear it will desecrate a hallowed spot before the battle’s 200th anniversary in 2005 and impede important archaeological work.
For years, there has been talk of harnessing the area’s notorious wind power by planting turbines in its shallow waters.
Yesterday, the Spanish newspaper El Mundo published details of the Trafalgar Sea Project, which envisages the construction of 500 240ft tall wind turbines off Cape Trafalgar.
The £1.5 billion project, which is awaiting final government approval, could produce electricity for 750,000 families and would include fish farms in cages at the base of each turbine.
The farm would be built exactly where Nelson’s fleet beat Napoleon’s Franco-Spanish force, eliminating the French navy and assuring the dominance of the British navy for decades to come.
Admirers of Britain’s greatest naval hero were aghast at the plan yesterday.
“I am somewhat alarmed,” said Bill White, secretary of the 1805 Club, an organisation dedicated to the battle.
“It is hallowed ground for all three nations. It seems particularly insensitive because of the anniversary and it could obstruct plans for underwater archaeology.”
Archaeologists are preparing expeditions to excavate a number of Spanish and French ships that were either sunk or foundered on Cape Trafalgar in the storm after the battle. White is among those Britons who feel a wind farm would be inappropriate in a place where “the Noble Commander-in-Chief” was placed in a cask of brandy and from where the mastless Victory was towed to Gibraltar.
Their thoughts also lie with some of the 449 British seamen who were killed.
They hope the wind farm plans will not spoil a host of events scheduled to commemorate the battle in two years’ time.
The Royal Navy and its Spanish and French counterparts are due to take part in the celebrations.
But other Nelsonians see the wind farm enterprise as typically innovative of the vice-admiral himself.
“Nelson would have approved. He harnessed the wind to his own advantage. It was wind that gave him the edge during the battle,” said Victor Sharman, chairman of the Trafalgar Society.