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Offshore wind farm could scare off visitors

A vast array of wind turbines off the Devon coast could have a “profound economic effect” on the local tourism industry, it has been warned.

The Atlantic Array offshore wind farm, planned off the North Devon coast in the Bristol Channel, has been budgeted at £3 billion and billed as one of the biggest renewable energy projects in Europe.

Turbines reaching up to 220 metres above sea level would be installed 8.5 miles (14km) offshore although developer RWE Renewables has cut the total from 417 to between 188 and 278 in response to environmental concerns.

Now Devon County Council has called for further work on what impact the massive wind farm may have.

In its draft response to the Planning Inspectorate, it said: “Significant concerns have been raised locally regarding the potential impacts of the proposed Atlantic Array on the tourism industry.

“The size of the industry in North Devon and Torridge must not be underestimated.

“Should any negative impacts be felt locally they are likely to have a profound economic effect.”