PLANS to build the world's largest offshore wind farm on the site of the Battle of Trafalgar sailed into controversy yesterday after claims they could destroy archaeological evidence and desecrate a war grave. The proposal for up to 500 wind turbines off southwestern Spain's Cape Trafalgar aims to use the area's high winds to generate enough electricity to power 750'000 homes. In the same spot in October 1805, the winds helped a British force under Admiral Horatio Nelson defeat a larger combined Franco-Spanish fleet - giving Britain dominance of the waves for over a century. Nelson, who was killed after hoisting the famous message “England Expects That Every Man Will Do His Duty”, became one of British history's most heroic figures. Sources at Navarra Hydroelectric Energy, the company behind the plan, told Reuters the project was still at a very preliminary stage. The cape is one of the few windy places in Spain where it is shallow enough near the shore to plant windvanes, they said. But the prospect of 240-foot tall turbines on the battle site has alarmed those in Britain who believe it might destroy archaeological evidence yet to be assessed. Chris Underwood, project director of the Nautical Archaeology Society, said: “Any interference by any form of development prior to an assessment of...the seabed could lead to the loss of evidence. I think it should be a fundamental issue,” he said. “If the site were destroyed or built on or disturbed in any way it inevitably has consequences on the ability to pinpoint historical activity.” And the whole site could be considered as a war grave, he added. Some 449 British and 4'408 French and Spanish seamen died during the battle, which raged over a 20-30 mile stretch of the Spanish coast between Cadiz and Gibraltar. Ron Fiske, chairman of the Norfolk Nelson Museum in Nelson's home county said: “Battle sites, whether on land or at sea, are special places.”

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