THE oil rig off Bournemouth’s beautiful beaches is an unwelcome sight for many reasons.

The risk of spillage may be very remote, but it still exists. The rig is a reminder of a fuel which many of us hope will be phased out even quicker than it is running out. And it is an eyesore on our otherwise wonderful seascape.

But it does have the unintended benefit of answering once and for all the long-running debate about how visible the Navitus Wind Farm would have been.

The Ensco 72 Oil Rig is 105m tall, 76m wide and sits 6 miles from the beach. The Navitus wind turbines would each have been 200m tall, 176m in diameter and sat 13 miles from the beach: almost exactly twice as tall, twice as wide and twice as far away. So, each turbine would appear to anyone visiting the beach or cliffs very similar in size to the oil rig there now: and there would have been between 121 and 194 of them. Let’s not forget either that they would have been there for at least 25 years while the rig is allowed a maximum stay of 40 days out-of-season.

I would suggest to anyone who was even vaguely convinced by the wind farm proponents’ claim that it would be “almost invisible” that they take a trip to the beach, and imagine the view with a whole forest of rigs like the one there now stretched right across the bay.

Think too about what that would have done to Bournemouth’s tourism business and the town’s livelihood. How grateful we should all be that disaster was avoided.

CLLR MIKE GREENE (Conservative), Bournemouth Town Hall