When news happens text pix and video to 80360. Start your message with BE then leave a space.
Navitus Bay wind farm will 'ruin jewel in the crown landscape'
THE sprawling Navitus Bay wind farm would ‘blight one of the jewels in Britain’s coastal crown’ for decades, Parliament has heard.
Dorset MPs called on ministers to “think very carefully” about allowing the huge 76-square mile farm to be built off the Bournemouth and Poole coast, during an adjournment debate secured by South Dorset Conservative MP Richard Drax.
Mr Drax voiced concerns how at just 13km offshore – approximately eight miles – some of the proposed turbines were 10km (6.2 miles) inside the Department of Energy and Climate Change’s own boundary guidelines.
He said the ministry suggested offshore wind farms should be no closer than 23km (around 14 miles) to coastlines.
The debate also highlighted: l Concerns that public consultation results will have little effect on the final decision; l Fears that the Jurassic Coast’s UNESCO World Heritage status could be threatened by the scheme; l Worries that the project will harm the “vital prosperity” of the tourism industry.
Bournemouth East MP Tobias Ellwood criticised Eneco – the Dutch energy company behind the wind farm bid – for failing to state exactly how much electricity would actually be produced.
He also hit out at the consultation process for failing to state exactly where the farm would be situated, how many turbines it includes and how high they would be.
“How can there be a consultation without some understanding of what we are considering and what might appear on our doorstep?” he asked.
The proposed Navitus Bay wind farm would stretch between Purbeck and the Isle of Wight and contain anywhere from 150-300 turbines, which could be up to 210m high.
Mr Drax told the house that tourists spend nearly £700 million a year on the Jurassic Coast.
“[Tourists] support more than 45,000 jobs. And yes, the unspoilt view is key to this success. So why are we considering jeopardising this jewel by siting a giant wind farm just offshore? Just one of these giant turbines would be significant – 100 of them, or more if smaller turbines are used, would blight the coastline for years to come.”
Christchurch MP Christopher Chope and Bournemouth East MP Tobias Ellwood also spoke at the debate, which was attended by Poole MP Robert Syms.
'NOT A DONE DEAL', STRESSES MINISTER
THE Department of Energy and Climate Change Minister Charles Hendry said: “My understanding is that the developers for Navitus intend to submit an application to the Planning Inspectorate in the
autumn next year.
“The Inspectorate will decide whether the application can be accepted.
“It will examine in detail the application and all the relevant information, including the views of local stakeholders and the local community, before making its recommendation to the Secretary of State for final determination.
“Their views as local MPs the views of their local authorities and the views of their constituents will be an integral part of that process,” he added.
I reassure my honourable friend the member for South Dorset that this is not a done deal.
“We will try to accommodate the views of the local community.
“If there is not seen to be a full and proper consultation process, that will jeopardise the likelihood of success.”
ENECO COMMITTED TO TALKS
Navitus Bay project director Mike Unsworth said: “We are committed to a genuine, transparent conversation with the community and about the Navitus bay wind park and our plans to generate renewable energy for up to 820,000 homes.
“As such, we welcome debate and the feedback we continue to receive as part of the consultation process. We’re working hard to demonstrate to groups and individuals what Navitus Bay will mean for the community including the many benefits it will bring such as jobs, skills creations and local investment.
“We are also currently undertaking the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and the possible impact on landscape and seascape will be fully assessed.
“It is our intention to present the findings regarding visuals at our next round of public exhibitions which are scheduled for November 2012.”