THE National Trust has waded into the debate over the wind farm planned for the Dorset coast – welcoming changes but saying more needs to be done.
The organisation said this week that the changes, reported earlier this month in the Daily Echo, were “a move in the right direction”.
But it said it remained concerned about the impact of the proposal. Earlier this month, developer Navitus Bay Development Ltd said it was removing the uppermost triangle of the planned site, meaning it would now be 12 miles off Christchurch instead of 10 and 13 from Bournemouth instead of 12.
But it would remain nine miles from Durlston and Swanage and campaign groups against it said the changes made no difference, with one saying it amounted to “rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic”.
Now, the National Trust’s assistant director of operations, Ian Wilson, has said: “We welcome the reduction in scale of the proposed wind park but would like to see more done to reduce the impact of the wind farm.
“We believe that offshore wind should make an important contribution to the country’s renewable energy targets, but it has to be in the right place at the right scale. We cannot support proposals that would seriously damage the beauty of the coastline we look after on behalf of the nation.
“The trust remains committed to working with all interested parties to make this development the best that it can be, and to find the best balance between the overall impact on the environment and landscape, and the need to generate clean and affordable energy.”
Navitus Bay plans to submit a planning application to the Government in the spring, and project manager Mike Unsworth said when the changes were announced that it showed it was listening to the concerns of the public and statutory consultees.
The changes would mean that the park would now cover an area of 155 sq km, compared to 175 sq km and the maximum number of turbines will be reduced from 218 to 194.
The National Trust said it would continue to urge Navitus Bay to explore every option to reduce the wind park’s visual impact, including moving the development further out to sea, as well as potentially reducing the height and number of turbines.