County council to lodge objection to offshore wind farm

Dorset County Council has resolved to object to a huge wind farm proposed off the coast of Dorset, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

Offshore wind: Dorset County Council to object to Navitus Bay proposals (picture: Keith Marshall)
Offshore wind: Dorset County Council to object to Navitus Bay proposals (picture: Keith Marshall)

Earlier this week, Dorset County Council cabinet members supported the authority’s planning committee’s decision to object to the Navitus Bay Wind Park, which would comprise up to 194 wind turbines with an installed capacity of up to 970MW.

The council’s cabinet cited a number of concerns about the proposals, including "the introduction of man-made features into the landscape" which "will fundamentally change the character and ecology of Dorset’s coast".

The council, which is among a number of statutory consultees on the project, also said that it is concerned about a "possible impact on the tourism industry", particularly in Bournemouth, Poole and Purbeck.

A report to the council's planning committee and cabinet said that, while the Navitus Bay proposal could offer "significant benefits" to Dorset and beyond in increasing the UK's energy supply from renewable sources, the proposed development "will fundamentally change the character of the Dorset coast as we currently know it".

The report added: "The impact on tourism is difficult to predict, but there is an acknowledgement in the developer's application that there could be a reduction in visitors and the amount of time they may wish to stay in Bournemouth, Poole and Purbeck during the construction and operation of the Wind Park."

Last month, the Planning Inspectorate (PINS) confirmed that Navitus Bay Development Limited’s application for development consent, which is being determined under the Planning Act 2008 regime, had been accepted for examination and would progress to the pre-examination stage.

The Borough of Poole also this week voiced fears over the proposals, saying that there are "significant local concerns" that it would like inspectors to "carefully scrutinise".

Mike Unsworth, Project Director at Navitus Bay, said: "We are disappointed at the stance taken by the Dorset County Council and the Conservatives councillors of the Borough of Poole Council on the proposed wind park.
"Polls conducted for Navitus Bay by independent researchers, combined with our own experience of talking to local residents, indicate majority support for the project and wind energy more generally across Dorset, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.
"If the wind park is given planning permission, it will not only make an important contribution to renewable energy production in the UK, it will also have a significant positive impact on the local economy."

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