TOURISM bosses in Poole and Bournemouth have challenged claims made by the firm behind the proposed Navitus Bay wind farm over jobs.

Navitus Bay Development Ltd has said that the project will create 1,700 jobs - something that has been questioned by opposition groups already.

Now, Poole and Bournemouth Tourism Management Boards have joined forces to challenge NBDL's parent companies, EDF and Eneco, on its job creation claims.

They have written to project director, Stuart Grant, and have also requested that the developer announces which companies are the preferred suppliers for the major components of the turbines and the development.

Dr Bruce Grant-Braham, chairman of PTMB and Des Simmons, chairman of BTMB, said in a statement: “We want to know exactly how, when and where these ‘minimum 1,700 local jobs’ will be created.

“Our concern is that the French and Dutch backed Navitus Bay does not want to be transparent with this information because the majority of contracts will, in fact, be awarded overseas and not to local or even UK-based companies.

"We demand that they come clean with this information.

"Dorset and the UK have the right to expect full and honest disclosure from Navitus Bay about this important information and allay our deep concerns that the bulk of jobs and contracts will in fact be awarded overseas."

The boards claim that the area’s visitor economy was forecast to lose £6.3 billion over the life of the project, with 4,923 people forced out of work.

Stuart Grant, project director at NBDL, said: “To realise the full potential of the wind park, we’re continuing to work with suppliers across the region to ensure we contract with as many local businesses as possible for the materials and services the wind park will require. We are committed to using local companies wherever possible.

“If the project receives consent, the type of contracts likely to be awarded during the construction of the wind park include ones for ports, steel fabricators, concrete suppliers and plant hire. During the O&M phase, opportunities will exist for skilled technicians and vessel operators.

“This is a hugely exciting time for the project as the benefits that the proposed windfarm could bring become increasingly tangible. This has been seen recently with the MHI Vestas Offshore Wind turbine supplier announcement, which would safeguard 200 jobs on the Isle of Wight.”

But Dr Andrew Langley, from opposition group Challenge Navitus, said that the 1,700 jobs claim was "actually a peak of temporary employment in one year during construction and the long term level in operation would be very much lower, at 100-140 jobs".

He added: "Even this depends on the full project being built and concrete turbine bases being chosen and built in a brand new local plant at Portland.

"If the more usual steel bases were used, local jobs would drop to around 200 temporary construction jobs at peak and 100-140 in operation."

A decision on the scheme is set to be made by the Government by September 11.