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Array protestors make letter writing rally call

Campaigners fighting plans for the Atlantic Array offshore wind farm are urging people to make their views heard.

A second round of consultations is currently taking place into the proposal by RWE for up to 278 turbines in the Bristol Channel off the North Devon coast.

The Woolacombe-based protest group Atlantic Disarray held a public meeting about the plans on Friday.

And despite the clash with the London 2012 Olympic opening ceremony, more than 70 people attended.

The aim of the meeting was to establish how best to respond to the second round of consultations, which end on August 31.

The second consultation period started with a series of public exhibitions.

RWE Renewables released its draft environmental impact assessment report last month.

Atlantic Disarray chairman Kevin Cook said at the meeting: “A lot of people have been waiting for the environmental assessment so we need to make sure as many people as possible write to RWE.

“At the end of the first consultation last year only 202 e-mails and 160 letters were received by RWE. That is not going to do it. We need thousands.”

Mr Cook asked members of the public whether the group should carry out a formal tourism survey in the village.

He said this would help determine the accuracy of RWE’s claim that the wind farm’s impact on tourism would be negligible.

The general consensus was that a survey would be beneficial but it would have to be carefully carried out to ensure visitors were not put off returning.

The group also hopes to speak to North Devon MP Nick Harvey, although not all members believed he was on board.

Andy White said: “Nick Harvey is sitting on the fence. Where is he? He is not here.”

But another member Sir Michael Knight said: “I hope we can persuade Nick Harvey to talk to his colleagues.

“I just couldn’t stand the exhibitions. I had to leave after ten minutes. What they were saying was downright lies.”

Marie Jenkins from the MP’s office said: “Nick is happy to represent your views so please do write to us.

“Nick will not get a vote on this but he is not a man who is against standing against government when necessary.”

Steve Crowther, who is leading the Slay the Array opposition group was also at the meeting.

He said: “We need ammunition and we need people to send in individual letters. If people send in pro-forma letters they will be lumped together in categories. We need to home in on one or two big guns such as The National Trust and the RSPB.”