ONE of the groups opposing the Navitus Bay wind farm has challenged its planning application at the first opportunity.

Navitus Bay Development Ltd was intending to submit its application for the park, which could see as many as 194 turbines as high as 200m, to the Planning Inspectorate this week.

Once submitted, there is a four-week period where the inspectorate will check the application to make sure it is valid.

Challenge Navitus has compiled an 11-page dossier highlighting what it says are flaws in NBDL’s consultation process in an attempt to persuade the government to reject the application at the first hurdle.

But NBDL says Challenge Navitus’s objections were always going to be included as per planning law and says its process was “certainly not flawed”.

Dr Andrew Langley, of Challenge Navitus, said: “We think NBDL’s consultation failed to meet that standard in key areas.

“As a result of incomplete, unclear and even misleading information, people have been ill-prepared to respond. We now look to the Planning Inspectorate to ensure that the public will become fully informed before any examination of NBDL’s application begins.”

Criticisms levelled at NBDL by Challenge Navitus include claims that photomontages have under-represented the visual impact of the proposal; that there has been an “incomplete, inconsistent, unrealistic and unclear” presentation of the socio-economic impacts and that “adverse conclusions” in NBDL’s own surveys – such as potentially up to a third of visitors staying away during construction years and an 11 per cent drop in number during wind farm operation – were not highlighted in the consultation.

It also said that environmental impacts from port operations had not been fully assessed.

Consultation ‘was not flawed’

STUART Grant, senior project manager at Navitus Bay, said that Challenge Navitus’s objections were included, as per planning law, as part of the application.

“The consultation process that we undertook was certainly not flawed.

“We followed the directions of PINS (the Planning Inspectorate) throughout and, in fact, have gone above and beyond by holding a fourth round of public consultation and four rounds of additional drop-in surgeries.

“We wanted to give local residents as many opportunities as possible to find out more about the project.