The Navitus Bay wind farm will “desecrate” Dorset’s coastline, MPs from the county said at an adjournment debate in Parliament.
The debate, called on Monday by South Dorset MP Richard Drax – came days after complaints were made that although the Planning Inspectorate has now made its recommendation on whether to permit or refuse the scheme to the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Amber Rudd, she has until September 11 to make a decision on the turbines.
It has been confirmed by developers that the plans feature 121 turbines at 193 metres high, or 78 if a scaled-down version is chosen, situated nine miles out to sea from Swanage and 13 from Bournemouth and Poole.
Mr Drax told MPs sitting in at the debate that Dorset residents were “faced with the daunting prospect of a giant wind farm”.
He said: “The wind farm will generate power for 700,000 homes. It will occupy 153 sq km, which is an area the size of Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch combined. “A second, smaller so-called mitigation option for 78 turbines was submitted very late—I want to underline that—in the process.
“Both proposals are hugely unpopular.”
The MP said residents have complained on the basis that the wind farm would be “too big and too close”, adding: “The development will desecrate one of the most beautiful parts of our country.”
Mr Drax said that the aim of the debate was to ‘impress on the Government the contentious nature of the wind farm and how many people are opposed to it.’
He said the area was very popular with the sailing and diving communities and was a haven for wildlife including dolphins, migratory birds and fish.
Mr Drax said: “The wildlife is important, and millions of people travel to enjoy our beautiful wild coastline because of the unspoilt view. It is one of the reasons for the world heritage designation.”
Although there would be benefits to the project, including that either Portland, Poole or Yarmouth, would be the port used in the construction phase, Mrs Drax said: “However, the longer-term risk to the tourism industry and the desecration of this unique part of the country’s coastline would far outweigh the advantages. The crux is that there are plenty of other places where this wind farm could and should be sited.”
MPs from Poole and Bournemouth also spoke in opposition to the proposed site.
Poole MP Robert Syms told attendees of the debate that the “strength of opposition” in his constituency had been highlighted as he campaigned during the general election.
“This is a very real threat to yachting, birds, the community and the view,” he said.
Bournemouth West MP Conor Burns said the development is “the biggest issue” confronting constituents in the county.
Navitus Bay Development Ltd, a joint venture between EDF and Eneco, has said that it has every confidence in the proposals, which it claims will bring £1.62 billion into the area’s economy.
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