A PROMINENT figure in the campaign against the wind farm planned for the Dorset coast has held PR roles with gas and nuclear energy giants, it has emerged.

Philip Dewhurst, one of the spokespeople for the Poole and Christchurch Bays Association, which claims to represent 50 residents' groups opposed to the Navitus Bay wind farm, has been a lobbyist for the nuclear industry and worked for British Nuclear Fuels Group from 2001-2007.

Until recently, he tweeted under the Twitter name @stopnavitus.

But, when approached by the Daily Echo, Mr Dewhurst said that his involvement with PCBA was purely personal.

Last week, the Echo reported how Conor Burns, MP for Bournemouth West, dismissed an article in Private Eye that implied he opposed Navitus Bay for personal gain.

The article noted that Mr Burns “receives regular payments” from Trant Construction Ltd, an engineering firm connected with the oil and gas industry – including Wytch Farm oil field in Poole Harbour.

Mr Burns said the article was "mischievous" and that his objection to the wind farm was in the interest of his constituents, who were "overwhelmingly opposed to it".

A PR guru with 30 years in the communications world, Mr Dewhurst later joined Russian energy firm Gazprom, a global player in the oil and gas industry.

During his career he has also spent time as the chairman of the Nuclear Industry Association and as a board member.

He is a now a senior partner at Instinctif, which bills itself as an International Business Communications Consultancy and deals with clients from a broad range of industries.

Mr Dewhurst said: “My opposition to Navitus Bay is purely personal and unpaid. Like the local majority, I feel that Navitus Bay is too big and too close to the Jurassic Coast and other sites of outstanding natural beauty. There is plenty of spare capacity on Dogger Bank, 80 miles out to sea, where a giant wind farm wouldn’t impact on a beautiful heritage coastline.

“My voluntary involvement is purely as a resident of Bournemouth, one of the UK’s most beautiful towns. I have absolutely no financial interest in the gas or nuclear industry.

“Like all of PCBA’s members I am involved on a purely personal basis because I want to see our coastline protected.

"I find it very disturbing that we are stooping to such tactics to smear and try to crush unpaid volunteers acting for the good of the town and in support of the overwhelming majority of local people.

“For the record, I stopped working in the nuclear industry in 2007 and the gas industry in 2009, when I retired from full time employment.

"My work background has absolutely no bearing on my personal opposition, as a local resident, to the siting of this hugely unpopular wind farm."