The Dorset and Hampshire coast is unlikely to be a target for offshore wind farms, says a leading planning expert.
But James Cain believes the area may see its fair share of applications for land-based sites.
Mr Cain, a nationally acknowledged expert on wind turbines, spoke after new targets for renewable energy were unveiled by the European Union.
Under ambitious plans, the EU aims to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 20 per cent by 2020 and wants the UK to generate 15 per cent of its total energy demand from wind, solar or wave technology. This means by 2020, 40 per cent of electricity must come from those three sources.
Currently the figure is just two per cent. Some estimates predict a rise in offshore turbines from the current 150 to around 7,500.
Mr Cain, a planner with Bournemouth law firm Horsey Lightly Fynn, says it’s “extremely unlikely” that Dorset and Hampshire will see any offshore wind farms.
“Most of these will be sited on the east coast of the UK and some in the Irish Sea and Bristol Channel.
“Our stretch of coastline is unlikely to be looked at in the third round of new offshore wind farms for a number of reasons.
“Much of it has special protection, it may be too expensive to transfer the energy to land and there are issues of depth of water and insufficient wind.”
Mr Cain added: “The impact in the two counties is much more likely to be from onshore farms, ranging from micro’ turbines to wind farms and we have already seen just how controversial such schemes can be, with proposals in both Poole and Purbeck.”
He said turbines had the capacity to split public opinion down the middle.
“People either love them or hate them, especially as they bring all sorts of issues with them including size, noise, health and general environmental concerns.
“We are bound to see a huge increase in planning applications for them and they are inevitably going to stir up controversy, probably even more so than phone masts.”
30 January 2008
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