December 24, 2013

South Dorset MP Richard drax opposes Navitus Bay wind farm plan

By Emma Walker, Reporter | Dorset Echo | 23rd December 2013 |

South Dorset MP Richard Drax urged council chiefs to consider his views against plans for a giant offshore wind farm.

The meeting, aimed at informing council leaders and Bournemouth West MP Conor Burns about the exact size and scope of Navitus Bay, was called by Mr Drax.

Dr Andrew Langley, founder of Challenge Navitus, made the presentation.

Current plans put forward by Navitus Bay call for 218 smaller, 5MW turbines or 136 larger 8MW turbines.

They are to be spread over a quadrangle equivalent in size to the area covered from Poole to Christchurch at the southern boundary and Wimborne to Ringwood at the northern boundary.

The wind farm would sit squarely in the middle of some of the most active sailing waters in Britain and on the edge of a busy shipping lane.

Campaigners claim it would also dominate the view from much of Purbeck, Sandbanks, Studland, Bournemouth and other beauty spots nearby.

Mr Drax has criticised the size and location of these proposals which he says will impact tourism as well as fishing, diving and sailing industries.

He said: “Navitus Bay is too big and too close.

“Government guidelines call for a 12 nautical mile exclusion zone.

“However, under these plans, 82 per cent of the site falls within that limit- and the 8MW turbines are huge.

“At three times higher than London’s gherkin, they will appear higher to the naked eye than the needles off the Isle of Wight.

“Tourism will move elsewhere.

“Fishing, diving and sailing industries will move elsewhere.

“The impact upon fish spawning beds and bird migration can only be guessed at.

“The disruption and pollution caused by digging the cables across the New Forest will destroy an environment we have cherished and protected for 1,000 years.

“Navigation lights on the turbines will destroy the beauty of the night sky.

“Furthermore, the effects on human beings of low frequency sound across water are as yet unknown.

“And of course, an industrial, offshore site, with all the maintenance it will need, will threaten our precious, UNESCO world heritage site designation.”

He added: “The centre of offshore wind generation in this country is, rightly, in the North Sea, where there is room for these arrays and where they will neither spoil the view nor the environment.

“I cannot fathom, therefore, why Navitus Bay imagines that a wind farm in this particular spot would be either welcome or advantageous.”

The Navitus Bay public consultation exercises have now ended.

Planning application is due to be submitted in the Spring.

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