A planned wind farm off the Bournemouth and Poole coast would be “a huge blot” on the seascape, a local councillor has warned.
On Monday Bournemouth Coun-cil’s planning board will hear how up to 300 turbines up to 205 metres high, could be built 10.2 miles from the town’s pier.
Board member Cllr Mike Greene told the Daily Echo: “These turbines could have a major impact on tourism. People come to Bournemouth for the peace and tranquillity of the views from the beach.
“We are talking about structures that are taller than any part of the Isle of Wight or Purbeck. People should think carefully about those proportions when they look out to sea from the beach or cliff-top.”
Cllr Greene, a town centre ward councillor member of a special council group set up to assess the effects of the proposed wind farm, added: “There are also huge implications for taxpayers who will have to pick up the bill.
“A huge subsidy is going to a foreign corporation and I would like to see people getting value for money in terms of tax and energy bills. Wind farms are about ten times as inefficient as nuclear power and not particularly carbon efficient.
“Turbines are master engineering projects that are so big they can’t be built in Britain. The proposed wind farm would generate enough power for 600,000 homes; same as a small nuclear reactor.”
Cllr Greene said: “The implications are massive and, although the council can make comments on the plans, it is not us who will make the final decision despite how much it could affect our residents, visitors and businesses.
“The decision will be made by the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change. Let’s hope that the new energy secretary Ed Davey will look at wind farms in a more sensible manner than his predecessor Chris Huhne.”
The pre-application process is expected to start in May with a projected opening date in 2019.
l Around 300 turbines could be built, up to 205 metres tall and about 10 miles from Bourne-mouth Pier. By contrast, Old Harry Rocks – roughly 20m high – is six miles from Bournemouth.
The Needles Lighthouse on the Isle of Wight is 13 miles away and stands at 33m tall.
Company says any visual concerns are ‘premature’
ENECO, the company seeking to build the Navitus Bay wind farm, said concerns over the visual impact of the turbines are premature because the project is at such an early stage.
Helen Cassini, consents manager at Eneco, said: “We haven’t decided which turbine manufacturer we will be using, we don’t know how many turbines there will be or what height they will be.
“It’s important people get the full facts about the project so we would encourage them to come along to the public exhibitions we will be holding over the next couple of weeks.
“At the exhibitions we will have some visualisations showing what the project may look like using different types of turbines – smaller ones, mid-size ones and bigger ones.
“If people have questions or want to come along and talk to us, now is the time to do it. Feedback can also be submitted online or we can supply hard copies of material to people who can’t come along to the exhibitions.”
The exhibitions will be held at these venues: l Swanage Mowlem Theatre: Tuesday, February 21 from 2pm to 8pm l Poole RNLI Lifeboat College: Wednesday, February 22 from 2pm to 8pm l Christchurch Borough Council Chambers: Thursday, February 23 from 2pm to 8pm l Bournemouth Pavilion Theatre: Saturday, February 25 from 10am to 4pm l West Moors Memorial Hall: Tuesday, February 28 from 2pm to 8pm l New Milton Memorial Centre: Wednesday, February 29 from 2pm to 8pm l Lymington Community Centre: Friday, March 2 from 2pm to 8pm
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