Exmouth has been revealed as a potential site for the building of offshore wind-farms – angering fishermen who see it as their ‘death knell’.
Fishermen fear their livelihoods will suffer if plans go ahead to build an offshore wind-farm – most of the turbines are sited three to five miles offshore and fishermen go out up to 46 miles.
Keith Graham, Harbour Master, said: “This will affect the fishermen – it’s a death knell for them. I am a conservationist but this would be very bad for fishermen and I don’t think it will make any difference (to the environment).”
In Exmouth there are 10 fishermen who work full-time every day but the number of seasonal workers is much higher.
Crown Estates, who own most of the country’s coastline, have released a map of places where they would potentially develop offshore wind-farms – which, significantly, includes Lyme Bay.
The company has announced its third phase of development and will be inviting companies to bid for the sites which would be built by 2020.
Rob Hastings, The Crown Estates’ Director of Marine Estates, said “The Government has committed to challenging carbon targets, and wind energy is the only renewable technology that can deliver the required quantity in the required timescales.
“We will be helping to identify suitable sites and working closely with commercial partners who we expect to make considerable capital investments in offshore wind-farm assets.”
Maurice Spurway, planning executive for Friends of the Earth Exeter, welcomed the proposal and said: “We are in a crisis situation – we have got to make some difficult decisions.”
Crown Estates have said that the rapid development of offshore wind capacity is central to the UK meeting its quota of the EU target of 20 per cent renewable energy by 2020.
The decision to build wind -farms does depend on the results of a current government study, the Strategic Environmental Assessment, which is analysing the effects of wind-farms on the local environment and the livelihoods of fishermen.
A spokesperson for the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform said: “We recognise the need to make balanced decisions to ensure our energy supply and meet our targets and to take account of the needs of other users of the sea.
30 June 2008
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