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Wind farm approval has ‘little bearing’ over outcome of Navitus Bay scheme

The approval of plans for the first wind farm off the south coast of the UK should have little bearing on the development planned for the Dorset coastline, say objectors.

Supporters, meanwhile, say the Rampion wind farm, which is being planned by energy giant E.ON, should be seen as a good example.

It will have 175 turbines and will be eight miles off the Sussex coast at its closest point after the Government gave the go-ahead. Each turbine will be between 180 and 210 metres tall.

The numbers are strikingly similar to the Navitus Bay plans – which are backed by E.ON’s rivals EDF and Dutch firm Eneco.

The proposals, which have been submitted to the Planning Inspectorate, would see up to 194 turbines as tall as 200 metres.

They would be 12 miles from Christchurch, 13 from Bournemouth and Poole, and nine from Swanage.

But opposition group Challenge Navitus says that comparing schemes can be misleading.

Spokesman David Lloyd said: “The approval of the Rampion proposal has little bearing on the potential outcome of the Navitus Bay planning application. Each offshore wind farm is different, with its own specific issues and challenges. Comparing one area with another can be both irrelevant and misleading.

“The New Forest National Park, the Purbeck and Tennyson Heritage coasts and adjoining Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty are unique and include England’s only Natural World Heritage Site. These designations were granted specifically to protect against the kind of industrialisation that the Navitus Bay wind farm would bring and to preserve these special places for future generations.

“There would also be many other environmental and social impacts specific to Navitus Bay.

“The degree of concern over the Navitus Bay application is clear from the record number of people who formally registered to oppose the scheme.”

Angela Pooley, of East Dorset Friends of the Earth and BH Green Group, said they welcomed the decision to grant permission.

She said the group urged councils to see the Navitus plans as positive initiative, as in Sussex.

Angela added: “Climate Change will have a greater negative impact on the Dorset Coast than offshore wind, so rather than worrying about the anecdotal effect on tourism, they should turn it around and market Dorset as an area committed to green and sustainable development.”