THE planning application for the controversial wind park off the Dorset coast has been accepted by the Planning Inspectorate.
The Government confirmed today that the application was valid and published all of the associated documents, including a funding statement that confirms that the total project construction costs will be £3 billion.
French energy giant EDF and Dutch utility company Eneco are behind the Navitus Bay park.
Now that the application has been accepted by the Planning Inspectorate, it has three months to prepare to examine it.
Between now and then, anyone can register as an interested party.
It is the first time that the full details of the scheme have been published, but the application still contains many variables.
It confirms that there will be up to 194 turbines, with a maximum tip height of 200m.
Cabling will make land at Taddiford Gap, between Barton on Sea and New Milton, and run around 22 miles to a new substation close to the existing National Grid station at Mannington near Wimborne.
Mike Unsworth, project director for Navitus Bay, said: “We are delighted that our development consent application has been accepted for examination and it is testament to the vast amount of work undertaken by the project team and independent experts to deliver the 18,000 page application.
“While PINS (Planning Inspectorate) examines our application we will continue to work with stakeholders, businesses and residents in Dorset, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight whenever we can, to make sure that everyone is kept up-to-date about the project and the considerable benefits that it would bring, in terms of sustainable energy generation, job creation and economic opportunities."
Welcoming today’s move, Mike Birkin, South West campaigner for Friends of the Earth, said:
"This is a major step forward for this exciting project, which promises to be the biggest source of clean energy in the south of England.
“Offshore wind is huge success story for the UK, providing thousands of jobs and boosting energy security.
“We now welcome the opportunity for proper scrutiny of the proposals, which will shed light on some of the alarmist and unfounded information that has been spread by its opponents."
David Lloyd, of opposition group Challenge Navitus, said: “This is not about renewables, it’s about this particular proposal.
"It’s simply too big and in the wrong place. Inspectors will be concerned only with planning issues. Loss of amenity, visual impact, economic effects on local businesses are all valid planning issues.
“They will take reasoned arguments from individuals and organisations seriously, but petitions or copies of identical letters carry little weight.”
THE publication of planning documents has revealed the extent of Bournemouth Borough Council’s anger over the consultation.
In its ‘adequacy of consultation’ response, Mike Holmes, director of planning, transport and regulation services, said that NBDL had “in general terms followed the consultation requirements” but there were a “number of issues” with the information that meant he could not describe the consultation as “fully adequate”.
Mr Holmes said that NBDL’s visualisations did not provide enough information and that the fact they did not compare with natural landmarks was “considered significant”.
He said that NBDL’s presentation of the “potential significant threat on jobs and the local economy” was “sufficiently misleading that it may well have led to misinformed responses”.
He also said the council was disappointed that NBDL did not engage fully with the town’s tourism representatives.
Don Gobbett, head of planning at Dorset County Council, said although NBDL had complied with its legal requirements, he shared concerns over the quality of the consultation.
He added: “In particular, consultation responses from county council officers and the general public requesting alternative visualisations of the proposed development have been ignored.
It is now commonly accepted that the existing guidance on land and seascape visualisations results in poor representations of what is likely to be seen in reality.”
You can see more documents at http://infrastructure.planningportal.gov.uk/projects/south-east/navitus-bay-wind-park/?ipcsection=overview