WIND farm developer Navitus Bay has confirmed that it does not plan to challenge the decision to refuse its plans for its proposed scheme for the Dorset coast.
The Government threw out the plans, which would have seen up to 121 turbines sited 13 miles from Bournemouth and Poole and nine miles from Swanage, in September following huge opposition.
On Monday, Stuart Grant, Project Director at Navitus Bay, said: “After careful consideration, Navitus Bay has chosen not to challenge the decision by the Secretary of State to refuse consent for the proposed wind park.
“We would like to thank the communities on the South Coast and all our stakeholders for their engagement throughout the project. We would also like to extend a thank you to the potential suppliers, who worked incredibly hard to inform our proposal.
“Over the course of the project we have gathered data from a wide range of offshore surveys and studies. This wealth of information includes environmental material such as bird and mammal surveys, human activity evaluations including shipping, navigation and archaeological data, and physical environmental detail like geotechnical data and sediment sampling.
“We recognise that this marine data is valuable and can provide a legacy by helping to stimulate research, support academia and contribute towards the sustainable management of the seabed.
“We will therefore be making this data available via The Crown Estate’s Marine Data Exchange once transfer and quality assurance processes have been completed, at www.marinedataexchange.co.uk.”
Dr Andrew Langley of Challenge Navitus, said: "We are pleased that a line can now be drawn under the Navitus Bay proposal. The examiners' recommendation for refusal to the government was unequivocal and we would have been surprised if there had been valid grounds for a legal challenge.
"An enormous amount of effort went into the examination and it was not decided on a whim, but on the balance of the proposal's merits. We would like to thank all who supported Challenge Navitus throughout the long campaign."
Deputy Leader of Bournemouth Council, Councillor Nicola Greene, said:
“We welcome the decision by the developers not to appeal against the Secretary of State’s decision.
“It has been a long, hard and exhausting battle against EDF and Eneco’s Navitus Bay proposal– a development that would have had a serious and damaging impact on our precious natural environment and local economy.
“We now look forward to continuing to grow Bournemouth’s position as a leading national and international tourist destination as further investment flows into the town.”
Conor Burns MP said: “With the scale of resources at their disposal we can be sure Navitus went through the report with a fine tooth comb.
"That they have decided not to appeal means they could find no grounds. That is both a validation of the strength of the arguments we put forward, but also a kick in the teeth to those who have carped, criticised and moaned about rejection being political.
"As would be said in Monty Python, this is a scheme that ceased to be. It has expired and gone to meet its maker. Navitus is an ex-scheme.”
But East Dorset Friends of the Earth said: "The current Government appears to be in denial about the scale of climate change, and the urgent need to support renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, wave and tidal to achieve the required cuts in greenhouse gases.
"Only today Professor Jacquie McGlade, the UN's chief environment scientist has criticised the UK for its failure to support renewable energy sources such as wind, and cutting subsidies, whilst continuing to provide subsidies to oil and gas firms.
"The decision by the Secretary of State, and recommendations by the Inspectorate, appear to have been entirely politically motivated. The decision was primarily based upon a perceived threat to the Heritage Coast status - despite the fact that the wind park could have no actual impact upon the geological and morphological factors leading to the designation.
"Not only did major players who would be expected to raise such concerns (CPRE, the South Coastal Path Association) not object, but the Heritage Coast already contains within it several major intrusions including quarries, an oil well (with more threatened) and an army firing range.
"Dorset Councils will now have to support major new initiatives if they are to meet the hole in their renewable energy strategy left by the removal of Navitus Bay, which was to provide 25% of our renewable energy target for 2020.
"EDFOE will be asking local councils how they intend to cover the shortfall needed to meet National targets for tackling climate change."