SAILORS from across the area have come out against the proposed wind farm off Dorset.
In all, 18 clubs from along the coastline were invited to a meeting at Parkstone Yacht Club and around 120 people attended.
They met to look at revised plans for the Navitus Bay project, which is a joint venture between Dutch firm Eneco and EDF Energy.
It comes as anti-wind farm protestors gear up to demonstrate in Swanage tomorrow morning, while supporters are planning their own demonstration at the same time.
As reported in the Daily Echo, Navitus said it had listened to feedback and, as a result, said the park would now be 12 miles away from Bournemouth, rather than 10, and the maximum number of turbines would be 218, rather than 333.
Maximum height will now be 200m, not 210m, while the total area of the seabed used reduced from 198sqkm to 175sqkm.
But the changes did little to placate opposition group, Challenge Navitus, and they got the same reaction from sailors.
The meeting resulted in sailors saying the turbines would create a hazard in one of the UK’s busiest sailing areas. They also fear environmental effects and are worried about the farm’s size and visual intrusion.
Sailors are now being urged to formally voice their opinions through the planning process.
Barry Rolfe, commodore of Parkstone Yacht Club, chaired the meeting. He said: “The visual impact is going to be massive. It will be a big hazard as that’s a very big leisure channel.
“It will interfere with racing as well; it will cause all sort of problems. I asked for a show of hands at one stage if people were against it and the majority of people in the room put their hands up. It was a unanimous feeling that this is something that we don’t want.
“We’re not against wind power per se, but it’s the environmental impact and the navigational hazard that it will present.”
Navitus Bay said it had been in consultation with sailing clubs, Trinity House and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.
It said the revised plans were aimed at addressing issues of safety and navigation.
“We believe these changes, coupled with the reductions in number and maximum sizes of the turbines, have helped to mitigate concerns not just on navigational safety, but also environmental impacts including visual. We look forward to continuing the dialogue with the sailing fraternity,” it added.
It said there were no plans to restrict access to the site other than for health and safety.
Navitus also said that a detailed Environmental Impact Assessment was being completed.
Mike Unsworth, project director, said: “Navitus Bay takes its engagement with local communities extremely seriously and is committed to using feedback received from the community to help shape the proposals.
“As a direct result of discussions with statutory consultees and local communities, we have reduced the size of the wind park and moved it further out to sea and are now looking forward to discussing the latest detailed plans.
“The exhibitions in February are just one of the ways that we hope to work together with the local community. We are also launching a new and interactive project website in February where people can access all the latest news and proposals, leave feedback and ask questions.
“Navitus Bay has always said that no decisions will be made without comprehensive consultation with all interested parties so we would encourage as many people as possible to take part in the process and give us their views.”
The latest round of events will include visualisations of how the wind park could look.
Consultation documents will be available to collect at the exhibitions and from libraries.
Navitus Bay has set up a dedicated community line, 0800 008 6763 and email, firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit navitusbaypark.co.uk
* West Moors Memorial Hall, February 1, 2–8pm.
* Bournemouth International Centre, Bourne Lounge, February 2, 10–4pm.
* RNLI Lifeboat College, Poole, February 6, 2-8pm.
* New Milton Community Centre, February 7, 2–8pm.
* Lymington Community Centre, February 8, 2–8pm.
* Cowes Yacht Haven, Isle of Wight, Saturday February 9, 10am–4pm.
* Christchurch Council, February 12, 2–8pm.
* St Edwards Church Hall, Swanage, February 13, 2–8pm.