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Calls for Navitus Bay wind farm to be moved further offshore

An MP is urging people to sign a petition calling for the Poole Bay windfarm plan to be scrapped in its current form.

Conor Burns backs a motion calling for the turbines to be invisible from the shore in case they damage tourism.

He told the Daily Echo: “I had a meeting with Eneco, the company doing the work, and I am putting them under enormous pressure to show us some visuals of how they will look.

“Basically as long as you can’t see it, we don’t mind.

“If they move it as close to the shore as they can, and build them as high as they can, they will have a problem with us.

“Tourism is the biggest employer in Bournemouth and anything that harms it I would be against.

“I want people to sign because my big fear is that people aren’t aware of what’s happening, and this will creep up on us and people will say: What did you do about it?”

Eneco plans to build 150 to 240 turbines in Poole Bay, around 10 miles from Bournemouth and Poole, and eight miles from Swanage and Christchurch.

Mark Smith, Bournemouth’s head of tourism, has said research suggests the scheme could cost Dorset 500 of the 18,000 jobs in its tourism sector.

The scheme is still at the consultation stage and the final plans will need planning permission from the government.

The revised national planning policy, announced last week, gives councils more control over onshore windfarms.

However the decisions of off-shore windfarms, which are built on Crown Estates land, are still in the hands of ministers.

Mr Burns, for Bournemouth West, said Bournemouth should have some democratic input and has arranged a meeting with ministers Greg Clark and Ed Davey to press his case.

He said: “We need to diversify our energy supply for all kinds of reasons. But there are lots of places you can out this without it being to the detriment of people.”