THE controversial Navitus Bay wind farm planned for the Dorset coast will be reviewed by the Culture Secretary.
Conor Burns, MP for Bournemouth West, raised the issue in parliament, in particular the possibility that the Jurassic Coast could lose its UNESCO World Heritage status if the scheme gets the green light.
The proposals are currently being examined by the Planning Inspectorate, with final hearings today and tomorrow before the process heads to its conclusion.
In the Commons, Mr Burns, who is opposed to the wind farm, which would see a maximum of 194 turbines up to 200m in height, made the warning.
Sajid Javid, the Culture Secretary, agreed that it was a “very important issue” and Mr Burns stressed that UNESCO has been robust in removing world heritage status in the past.
Mr Burns reiterated his view, shared by Bournemouth Borough Council, that the planned development could have a major impact on tourism.
Mr Javid said that he would look at the issue in greater detail and review it.
Roy Pointer, chairman of opposition group Poole and Christchurch Bays Association, said: “Bournemouth’s beaches and the Jurassic Coast Unesco world heritage site represent outstanding cultural assets. To build the giant Navitus development so close would be like putting a wind farm on Stonehenge. We urge the Culture Secretary to do all he can to stop this industrialisation of our unique coast.”
John Beesley, Bournemouth council leader, said: "“EDF and Eneco’s plans to build the highly contentious Navitus Bay wind farm threaten the setting of the Jurassic Coast and its status as a World Heritage Site. Neither Bournemouth, nor the United Kingdom can afford to risk losing this global status for this unique asset; we must do all that we can to protect our outstanding coastline and the tourism economy it supports.
"I am delighted that the Culture Secretary has intervened. I would be surprised if the final conclusion does not mirror the French Government’s action to protect their UNESCO World Heritage site at Mont-Saint-Michel when it was similarly threatened by a wind farm proposal in 2012.”