CAMPAIGNERS fighting proposals for a sprawling windfarm off the Bournemouth coast say they’re ‘encouraged’ by a power company’s decision to pull the plug on a similar project in Devon.

Challenge Navitus, which is opposed to Navitus Bay Development Ltd’s (NBDL) plans for up to 218 turbines off the Dorset coast, says it will fight to the bitter end to ensure the windfarm does not get built.

Speaking after German-owner RWE npower announced it was no longer pressing ahead with its 240-turbine Atlantic Array project, Challenge Navitus spokesman David Lloyd said: “This news gives encouragement to everyone campaigning against Navitus Bay because it raises serious questions about the economic viability of offshore wind.

“Our campaign is attracting huge support, right across the country and the political divide – people who share our view that Navitus Bay is simply a bad plan in completely the wrong area. We will be fighting this proposal until the bitter end, buoyed just a little bit with the news about the demise of Atlantic Array.”

Financial concerns seem to be behind the decision by RNE npower to pull the plug on the Atlantic Array project.

Paul Cowling, director of offshore wind at RWE Innogy, said: “This is not a decision we have taken lightly; however, given the technological challenges and market conditions, now is not the right time for RWE to continue to progress with this project.”

The Poole and Christchurch Bays Association (PCBA), representing 50 coastal residents’ associations, wants the government to scrap plans for the Navitus Bay wind farm, which could see turbines – almost four times the height of Nelson’s Column – sited close to Bournemouth’s beaches and the prized UNESCO site at Swanage.

Following yesterday’s Atlantic Array developments, PCBA spokesman Phillip Dewhurst said: “At last some sanity has returned to energy policy.

“These giant offshore wind farms are too big, too close to shore and too damaging to local jobs in tourism.

“Now it seems that people have realised that they are also hugely expensive and, if built, will force up energy bills for householders and businesses alike.”

The Navitus Bay development has seen strong opposition from local MPs, councillors and residents’ groups.


NBDL project director Mike Unsworth said: “The Atlantic Array project faced a number of technical challenges.

"The Navitus Bay Wind Park is a very different project. It is less technically challenging in terms of seabed conditions, water depths and tidal range, and remains a viable development. We, therefore, remain committed to developing the project.

“Offshore wind continues to play an important role in the UK’s energy mix. It will help the government meet its renewable energy targets, contribute to reducing Britain’s reliance on imported fuels and create tens of thousands of jobs.

“The Navitus Bay Wind Park will not only offset 1,150,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions each year, but independent studies have shown that it also has the potential to add £1.85 billion of value to the local economy over its lifetime.”