DORSET’S Green Party is accusing the Government of wasting a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ opportunity if the rumoured refusal of the Navitus Bay wind farm is confirmed tomorrow – while the developer says it won’t comment on speculation.

After a process that has already rumbled on for more than six years, energy minister Lord Bourne is due to announce the Department for Energy and Climate Change’s decision tomorrow.

At the weekend, a national newspaper claimed that Navitus Bay was set to be only the second major offshore wind farm scheme in the UK to be refused.

As reported in the Daily Echo, that was cautiously welcomed by opponents of the scheme, which would see up to 121 turbines erected 13 miles from Bournemouth and Poole and nine miles from Swanage.

Kelvin Clayton, chairman of the West and South Dorset Green Party, said: “This decision is deeply damaging to Dorset’s economy.

“The wind farm could have created thousands of skilled jobs in a county where decent wages and career opportunities are increasingly hard to come by for countless young people.

“More importantly this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to provide vast amounts of cheap, clean, safe and renewable energy.”

He added: “A decision to reject wind power can only increase the prospect of communities in Dorset instead facing the threat of fracking.”

Navitus Bay project director, Stuart Grant, told the Daily Echo: “We don’t comment on speculation.

“We’re in the same position we’ve been in for the last six months, waiting for the decision, which we will get on Friday.

“We do believe in the strength of our project and we understand that there are concerns about it, like any other major scheme.

“We carried out a consultation and reacted to that with the (smaller) mitigation scheme.

“It’s for Lord Bourne to announce, not anybody else.”

Asked about what Navitus would do in the event of either permission being granted or refused, Mr Grant added: “Within the Planning Inspectorate process there’s a Judicial Review stage potentially, but there’s no appeal as such.

“When we get the decision we will have a look and we will go through it and see what our options are moving forward.”

THE Borough of Poole has again voiced its opposition ahead of tomorrow’s decision.

Cllr Ian Potter, cabinet portfolio holder for planning, said: “When the council was in No Overall Control it restrained from giving a position regarding Navitus Bay.

“However, the Conservative Administration is opposed to the development, as it has concerns over the visual impact of the scheme, the detrimental effect on tourism and the potential loss of materials deposited on our beaches caused by changes in wind and tidal movements.

“While we support low carbon energy production, as well as other initiatives to combat climate change, placing such a scheme near a World Heritage site doesn't make sense.

“These are real concerns for the residents of Poole and we hope these will be taken into consideration by the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change before a final decision is reached.”