CAMPAIGNERS have criticised a council for spending 11 times more opposing wind farm plans than it did objecting to an oil rig.

More than £63,000 was spent by Bournemouth council in putting forward its case against the Navitus Bay wind farm, a freedom of information request revealed.

However, costs of only £5,718 were accumulated in its opposition of the controversial Corallian Energy oil rig in Poole Bay.

Wind farm plans were rejected by the former Department for Energy and Climate Change in September 2015 following an extensive campaign against it by councils, MPs and opposition groups.

The oil rig drew objections from similar quarters but Bournemouth council has been criticised for the difference in the amount it spent on the two schemes.

Chris Rigby, Save Our Shores campaigner and Green Party candidate for Winton East, said the figures showed the council, which has now become part of Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council, had “no desire” to embrace renewable energy sources.

“The difference between the figures clearly demonstrates the council opted to do the bare minimum required of them as a statutory consultee in the exploration for oil off of our coast,” he said.

“Yet they chose to spend tens of thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ money opposing Navitus which could have led to Bournemouth becoming a zero carbon leader in the UK.”

A freedom of information request in 2014 found Bournemouth council spent £63,302 on examining the wind farm proposals, explaining its position and in legal fees.

However, the local authority said £5,718 costs had been incurred in the same areas for the oil rig scheme.

The rig left Poole Bay in March after two months assessing oil levels.

Bill Cotton, director of regeneration and economy at Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council and former Bournemouth council director, said:“The Navitus Bay wind farm proposal and the Corallian oil rig were two completely different projects.

"One involved a permanent off shore structure and the other a temporary test exploration.

"Both decisions therefore required a different level of response from the former Bournemouth Borough Council.

"In both cases consultations were carried out, however the final decision was not within the local authority’s power.

"Under the new BCP Council we will continue to take our responsibilities to residents and the environment very seriously.’’