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‘Keep the pressure on’ call to opponents of wind farm scheme

A Dorset MP has urged opponents of the Navitus Bay scheme to ‘keep the pressure on’ in an attempt to get the scheme withdrawn.

Christchurch Conservative MP Chris Chope says people need to keep up the fight against the controversial wind farm scheme, which could see as many as 194 wind turbines as high as 200m placed off the coast – 12 miles from Christchurch, 13 from Bournemouth and Poole and nine from Swanage.

Speaking to the Daily Echo, he said: “Other wind farm developments have been withdrawn and effectively the more objections and the more difficult it looks for the developer, the more their mind is concentrated on whether it is going to be worthwhile.

“This has got a record number of objections and that needs to be noted.

“There are a lot of cynical people who think this is a done deal.

“But my view is that there is everything to play for.”

The call comes just days after Bournemouth West MP Conor Burns called on culture minister Ed Vaizey to protect the Dorset Coast from the proposed Navitus Bay wind farm.

Speaking on Wednesday night in Parliament, Mr Burns said the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site was under threat from the development.

The vast majority of people who have registered to have their say on the wind farm are opposing the plans.

Around 2,700 registrations have been made, thought to be far higher than for any other offshore wind project, including the abandoned Atlantic Array off the south coast of Wales.

A wide range of organisation and individuals – including Bournemouth Borough Council and Borough of Poole – have raised worries over a raft of issues – including the visual impact, threats to boating and fishing and the potential impact on the area’s tourism industry.

However, there is support for the scheme from East Dorset Friends of the Earth and the BH Green Group.

Mike Unsworth, Project Director at Navitus Bay, said: “While the Planning Inspectorate (PINS) will certainly take into account the views of those local residents who submitted comments – both in support of and opposed to the proposed wind park – the primary purpose of these comments is to help PINS identify the specific issues that need to be examined when assessing whether the project plans should be granted planning permission.

“We were pleased, but not surprised, that Culture Minister Ed Vaizey confirmed this week that the Environmental Impact Assessment that was carried out for Navitus Bay is independent and valid and that, since the proposed wind park has not to date been examined by the world heritage committee, the world heritage status of the Jurassic Coast is not currently considered