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MPs lobby Huhne over wind farm fears

Dorset MPs are set to meet with the secretary of state for energy and climate change over the “undemocratic” wind farm proposed off the south coast.

Conor Burns, MP for Bournemouth West, has secured the meeting with Chris Huhne, which will also be attended by Bournemouth East’s Tobias Ellwood, Poole MP Robert Syms and Christchurch MP Chris Chope.

Eneco is planning to put up between 150 and 240 turbines off the coast.

At their closest they would be eight miles from Swanage and 10 miles from Bournemouth.

Raising the issue at the House of Commons, Mr Burns said residents were concerned over the size of the project, which will cover a 76-square mile area.

He said he was also worried that local authorities were being excluded from the process.

Mr Burns said: “I am very clear that we need to get our concerns over to the Government.

“This is a vast project which will be clearly visible from the land and each of these turbines will have a red light on the top, which will flash throughout the hours of darkness.

“We must be clear that our local economy relies on tourism and the beautiful beach and bay are central to that appeal.

“The way this proposal is being put forward is simply undemocratic.

“Due to the distance from the shore, the matter is for the Crown Estate and neither Bournemouth, Poole or Christchurch councils have any planning power.

“It will require a ‘development consent’ through the Planning Inspectorate, but the final decisions on applications will be left to the Secretary of State.

“That is why I wanted to use the opportunity of the statement on the floor of the House of Commons to press the Secretary of State to see local MPs so that we can make him aware of the strength of feeling on this matter.”

In response Mr Huhne said he was happy to meet with the MPs.

But he cautioned Mr Burns against “being too hostile” towards what was “potentially a very interesting development that could have considerable benefits not just for the country as a whole but locally”.

Energy firm Eneco says the park will provide enough energy for between 615,000 and 820,000 homes.