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Action group set up to fight Atlantic Array

People in Woolacombe and Mortehoe have joined forces to form an action group to stop the proposed Atlantic Array wind farm being built 14km off North Devon’s coast.

The Atlantic Disarray, the group’s chosen name, was formed at a meeting on December 1 which attracted around 80 people to Woolacombe Village Hall.

Ideas, questions and concerns were discussed about the offshore wind farm which could see either 188 turbines at 220 metres high, or 417 at 165 metres being built in the Bristol Channel.

Steve Crowther, the chairman of the UK Independence Party (UKIP) who lives at Heanton, near Braunton, attended the meeting. He has already set up an UKIP affiliated opposition group to the Atlantic Array called Slay the Array.

Mr Crowther said: “This is actually a political fight – if we are going to see it off we have to create an army. Politicians only understand numbers and that is what it we need to give them.”

Others who attended the meeting voiced concerns about being politically aligned while some felt it would have financial benefits.

One member of the public said: “We have all got concerns but we are not going to make a difference on our own – let’s face it, we need a politician.”

Bob Gotts, the chairman of the North Devon Fishermen’s Association, said he had joined Slay the Array in the hope it would actually make some difference.

He said: “We as fishermen are going to be wiped out. We have the second biggest tides in the world and they move millions of tonnes of sand. These boulders they are going to attach the turbines to are going to have to be huge.

“In a way, this development will be damning the Bristol Channel and then where is all that water going to go?”

After nearly two hours of discussion the Atlantic Disarray was formed.

Kevin Cook, who initially led the meeting, was voted to be one of the eight members of the group who will each represent the various concerns people have about the array.

He said: “Essentially we are an independent group for Woolacombe and Mortehoe. We are not a political group but we will work with other opposition groups to give us all a louder voice.”

The group is currently creating a website which they hope will be up and running before Christmas.

The other members of the group are Malcolm Wilkinson, Sue Wrigglesworth, Andy White, Judith Gilbert, Steve Woodman, Stephen Brown and Sir Michael Knight.