The Celtic League has written to the International Maritime Organisation to find out what rules apply to the siting of offshore windfarms in ‘busy shipping lanes’.
Last week Isle of Man Steam Packet Co. chief executive Mark Woodward told the Manx Independent its sailings could be put at risk by the number of windfarms in the Irish Sea.
Energy giant Centrica won development rights for the Irish Sea zone last year, which is next to Manx territorial waters.
The £8 billion investment could see about 1,000 turbines being built, with the capacity to generate 4.2 gigawatts. Construction could begin as early as 2016.
Celtic League director of information Bernard Moffatt has written to the organisation’s secretary general, Efthimios Mitropoulos. He says: ‘Currently plans are in hand to considerably expand offshore wind farms off the Lancashire and Cumbria coast and, whilst the development of this technology is to be welcomed (as part of efforts to combat reliance on fossil fuels), the area(s) in question are in close proximity to busy sea lanes. An added factor in relation to the coastal seaways off NW England is that, uniquely, these see the frequent passage of vessels carrying nuclear fuel. Indeed, British nuclear transports not only use ports in NW England but have their base there.’
The letter continues: ‘I would be extremely grateful if the IMO could advise if it has set out any guidance or recommendation which specifically mandates member states to carry out risk assessments into the consequences of ships having to deviate from normal routes due to offshore windfarms, additionally the consequences of recreational or motor fishing vessels having to enter commercial shipping routes in order to avoid proposed windfarm sites.’
The Celtic League has branches in the six Celtic countries and works to promote co-operation between these countries and campaigns on a range of political, cultural and environmental matters.
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