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Wind farm hearing

A planning hearing will take place at the Villa Marina tomorrow (Tuesday) over proposals for wind farm developments in the Irish Sea.

There are two hearings before the UK’s planning inspectorate – the first, starting at 10am, dealing with air navigation followed by an open floor session in the afternoon at 2pm looking at a range of issues including sea navigation.

Both hearings deal with Dong Energy’s plans to extend the Walney wind farm off the coast of Cumbria but also the cumulative impact of current and proposed wind farm schemes in the north east zone of the Irish Sea.

The Steam Packet, the Chamber of Commerce and TravelWatch have previously raised concerns about the impact on lifeline ferry routes, with the possibility of increased crossing times and more delays and cancellations in bad weather.

Tomorrow’s hearings are open to the public but only registered interest parties can address the panel of examining inspectors.

In the morning, representatives from Dong Energy, the Manx government and Isle of Man Airport will present their cases while in the afternoon the Chamber of Commerce, the Steam Packet, Travelwatch, Stena Line, the UK Chamber of Shipping and the Marine Coastguard Agency will also give their views.

Walney is the largest offshore wind farm in the world, generating 367 MW of electricity, sufficient to power about 320,000 homes. It was officially opened by UK Energy Secretary Edward Davey in February 2012. The proposed extension will double its size.

Dong Energy has also set up a joint venture with Centrica called Celtic Array which has submitted proposals for a 2.2 gigawatt wind farm named Rhiannnon between Anglesey and the Isle of Man.