A DEVELOPMENT exclusion zone should be set up around the Jurassic Coast to scupper the proposed Navitus Bay wind farm, an MEP has claimed.

South West MEP Ashley Fox has urged the Energy Secretary Amber Rudd to refuse the wind farm plans, which he said would "do irreparable damage," and act now to provide more protection for the World Heritage Site.

He also urged her to extend her recent decision to remove onshore wind subsidies to offshore wind farms, which he said would mean the Navitus Bay project would be unviable.

The Planning Inspectorate has now passed its recommendation on whether to accept or refuse the plans to the Secretary of State, but this recommendation is not being made public.

Mr Fox will be in Bournemouth today to meet with council leaders, the Challenge Navitus Group and Bournemouth tourism officials.

He said: "The Dorset Jurassic coast is the only natural UNESCO world heritage site in England and must be protected.

"It supports 45,000 jobs and adds £700million a year to the local economy.

"We have an economy dependent on tourism and this wind farm will do irreparable damage, it will desecrate the coast and even threaten the world heritage status it enjoys.

"In other parts of the world, development exclusion zones have been introduced to protect similar assets and I believe that this should be the case here."

But another South West MEP, Labour's Clare Moody is in favour of the scheme and accused Mr Fox of "opportunist nimbyism."

She said: "Navitus Bay, and projects like it, present an enormous opportunity to Dorset and the South West, to attract and develop high-skilled, good quality jobs in a sustainable industry. The South West has an opportunity to position itself as a world-leader in this growing sector.

"The timing of this letter smacks of opportunist nimbyism. We need politicians of all parties to get serious about our energy requirements and to recognise that we all have a role to play in finding an energy mix fit for the 21st century and beyond.

"The repeated claim by Tory politicians, that a development miles off the Jurassic Coast jeopardises its World Heritage designation, is erroneous and a lazy refusal to debate the real issues.

"More recently, UNESCO has clearly stated that the Navitus Bay development will not affect the geological significance of the Jurassic Coast, which is the reason for its World Heritage designation."