The tranquillity of Lundy Island in the Bristol Channel will be destroyed if an offshore wind farm is built, its manager has warned.
Lundy general manager Derek Green says he is absolutely horrified by the Atlantic Array proposals which have the potential to leave a devastating legacy on the island which boasts England’s first Marine Conservation Zone.
Developers RWE npower Renewables Ltd visited the island last week to give a presentation to islanders and visitors.
Mr Green said: “I can say, without exaggeration, that everyone who saw the visual impression was shocked by the scale of the proposal. It will have a massive impact on Lundy.
“There was a question and answer session and they were unable to reassure us that we wouldn’t feel the vibration during the construction phase, they couldn’t confirm that we wouldn’t hear the construction work or the wind farm when it is up and running.
“I have huge concerns for the peace and tranquillity that people come to Lundy for and for the wildlife that resides in the Marine Conservation Zone.”
Mr Green said harbour porpoises, which are protected under European law, have been recorded in the centre and the fringes of the wind farm area. He said there would be a massive impact on other wildlife.
The area is an important breeding ground for grey seals, is one of the biggest sea bird nesting sites and one of the main foraging grounds for Manx Shearwaters.
Mr Green said: “The most devastating thing of all is the visual impact. It will totally destroy the seascape – Wales will disappear behind this vast array. The height has yet to be decided but the bigger option turbines are taller than Lundy itself.”
“It is a huge blight on the Bristol Channel and I urge the people of North Devon who value its natural beauty to protest. We cannot sit back and let this happen.”
Lundy is 9km away from the proposed offshore wind farm. There is no light on the island between midnight and 6am as the generators are turned off and Mr Green said as well as destroying the peace and quiet, the island would face light pollution from red lights on the top of the turbines.
He added: “Lundy generates £2.5 million per year for the North Devon economy and if the numbers visiting Lundy drop, all B&Bs will take a hit and there will be a knock on effect on many other businesses.”
He said he could not understand why such a sensitive site was chosen for what he described as a wind factory on a massive scale and he was now in talks with the Landmark Trust and the National Trust on how to fight the plans.
Robert Thornhill, development manager for the Atlantic Array Offshore Wind Farm, said: “RWE npower renewables are involved in an extensive consultation process for the Atlantic Array project and will continue to liaise closely with the residents and guardians of Lundy on the detail of our proposal as we work towards submitting an application.
“We have been undertaking detailed environmental assessments at the wind farm site since 2009 to understand any impact the proposed wind farm may have on wildlife. The results of our assessments will be publicly available in a draft environmental statement in early 2012. The draft environmental statement will also include the results of our visual and seascape character assessment which will consider any impact on the character of Lundy and the surrounding coastline.”