Bournemouth council has spent more than £63,000 fighting the Navitus Bay wind farm plans, it has been revealed.
A Freedom of Information request found that Bournemouth council had spent far more than the Borough of Poole, which has invested nothing but officer time, and Dorset County Council, which spent £15,000 appraising visuals.
The Navitus Bay wind farm is opposed by Bournemouth and Dorset councils and by the Conservative group in Poole. Bournemouth council has been particularly concerned about the ‘negative impact’ the turbines could have on tourism.
In response to the FOI, Bournemouth council said it had spent £63,302.14 between April 1 2012 and 10 December 2014. Around half of this – £32,299.99 – was spent explaining the council’s position, £28,302.15 was spent examining the proposals and £2,700 was spent on legal representation.
Leader of the council Cllr John Beesley said: “As a statutory consultee for the proposed £3.5billion wind farm development, Bournemouth council is legally obliged to submit local impact reports, written representations and attend all the Planning Inspectorate’s hearings.
“We have put in place the appropriate evidence-based research and legal support to protect the interests of Bournemouth residents and the local tourism economy and this has a significant cost. The alternative would be to ignore our responsibilities and do the minimum necessary.
“We need to ensure the Government’s Planning Inspect-orate overseeing the examination process is aware of the deeply detrimental impact the wind farm would have on Bournemouth’s businesses, our local economy and jobs.”