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Surfers facing smaller waves

Wave heights at Compton Bay and Freshwater Bay could be reduced by nearly ten per cent if the Navitus Bay windfarm is built, surfers have been told.

However, developers of the wind farm, set to be built 13.9km off the south west of the Isle of Wight, told a meeting of the Isle of Wight’s surfing community the reduction was a worst-case scenario.

Around 20 surfers, as well as representatives of the campaign group, Surfers Against Sewage, attended the consultation meeting at the Lakeside Hotel, Wootton Bridge, on Wednesday.

During the meeting, fears were also raised sediment could build up around the bases of the giant turbines, altering the tidal flows.

Dr David Lambkin, from ABP Marine Environmental Research, which produced a study on the effects of the windfarm, said wave heights could reduce by 9.6 per cent.

But he said: “In our experience, if you were standing on the beach looking at the waves, you would not be able to measure the difference as to whether the wind farm was there or not.”

Speaking after the meeting, surfer Gyles Pugh-Panther said: “I was concerned there would be a far larger impact.”

Fellow surfer Sam Wanstall added: “I don’t think anyone is against the wind farm. My gut feeling is the developers were very reasonable and they do seem to know what they are talking about.”

However, Matt Harwood, the Isle of Wight representative for Surfers Against Sewage, said there were mixed feelings in the surfing community about the development.

“From a personal perspective, a ten per cent reduction in a worse-case scenario is something I could live with,” he said.

A further consultation meeting about Navitus Bay is set to be held in Newport on September 14. The venue is to be confirmed.