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Huge response to wind farm petition

There has been a remarkable response to our ‘Don’t cut us off’ campaign to protect the island’s lifeline ferry routes from over-intensive wind farm development in the Irish Sea.

To date, more than 800 of our petition forms – containing more than 1,100 names – have been signed by our readers in just a fortnight.

The response has been welcomed by Steam Packet chief executive Mark Woodward who praised our campaign.

He said: ‘The strong reaction to Isle of Man Newspapers’ petition gives a clear confirmation that the proposed Irish Sea wind farm developments are unacceptable and constitute a real threat to the livelihood of those who live or work in the island.

‘We’d like to thank Isle of Man Newspapers for launching the petition, and would again urge the developers to listen to and accommodate the needs of island passengers and businesses.’

Meanwhile, Speaker of the House of Keys Steve Rodan is urging people with families living in the UK to contact their MP asking them to sign an early day motion tabled by Morecambe MP David Morris which opposes the proliferation of wind turbines which he says is starting to reduce the capacity of shipping lanes.

The Manx government, the Steam Packet, the Chamber of Commerce and the TravelWatch Isle of Man have all expressed concerns that the cumulative effect of all the current and proposed wind farms, together with the Morecambe Bay gas field platforms, will present a very real threat to lifeline services and the Manx economy.

They say it will lead to a greater likelihood of cancelled and delayed sailings, particularly in bad weather – as well as increased journey times and costs.

Energy firm Celtic Array insists it is listening to these concerns.

Celtic Array – a joint venture between Centrica and Dong Energy – had entered an agreement with the Crown Estate over the development of the Irish Sea Zone, with a target to produce a generating capacity of 4.2GW although there is no contractual requirement to do that. Some 2.2GW of that capacity would be generated by the proposed Rhiannon wind farm, which is currently the subject of a formal public consultation.

But of greater concern are Celtic Array’s plans for the North East zone which cuts right across the Liverpool and Heysham ferry routes.

The company has confirmed it intends to build in the NE zone but doesn’t yet know exactly where, when or how much. It says it won’t bring forward a proposal for another one or two years.