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Crowds spill over during heated Navitus Bay wind farm debate  

Credit:  By Katie Clark | 12th March 2013 | www.thisisdorset.net ~~

Hundreds of people packed out a church hall in Highcliffe on Friday to hear more about the controversial wind farm plans for the Dorset coast.

It was standing room only at Highcliffe Methodist Church Hall as residents flocked to fill the large community facility, with many forced to listen from outside open windows and side doors.

The meeting, organised by Highcliffe Community Association and chaired by Dorset County Councillor Alan Griffiths, heard from both the wind farm developer Navitus Bay Development Ltd and opposition group Challenge Navitus.

Both sides each had half an hour to put their case across before questions were taken from members of the public.

And it was a lively atmosphere, with some speakers being heckled and booed and one woman having to make herself heard above some slow-clapping throughout her three-minutes of allotted time.

The proposed wind farm, which could have up to 218 turbines 12 miles off Bournemouth, is currently in its third round of consultation.

Visitors to exhibitions held across Dorset and Hampshire have seen new photomontages of what the turbines – which could be as high as 200metres – will look like.

NBDL also has a 3D model of the wind farm, but both the photos and the model have come under fire from the Challenge Navitus group.

Mike Unsworth, project director at NBDL, told the meeting: “We listened to the criticisms from the previous consultations and have been away and developed the plans, particularly the photo montages, which give a more accurate representation.

“There is a hugely important heritage aspect of this area and we do continue to discuss the Jurassic Coast as part of our ongoing plans.

“Plans will come back to the public in the autumn once we have analysed the feedback.”

Nearly 2,000 people have attended exhibitions over plans for the wind farm so far.

And Challenge Navitus are urging people to have their say by writing to the developers as well as their MPs and other interested parties.

Dr Andrew Langley, co-founder of Challenge Navitus, reminded people of the importance of their “natural” surroundings.

“The wind farm proposition is enough to change its character,” he told the meeting.

“At the very least we deserve to give this plan some close scrutiny.”

He also warned of the affect on tourism and leisure, saying while it was reasonable to say there was a risk to the economy.

The consultation will end on April 5.

Source:  By Katie Clark | 12th March 2013 | www.thisisdorset.net

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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