Any attempt to reignite the Navitus Bay wind farm project off the Dorset coast would be strongly opposed by BCP Council’s new lead member for sustainability.
The subject of offshore wind farms surfaced this week after Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the renewable energy source would power every home in the UK by 2030.
The controversial Navitus Bay project hit the buffers in 2015 when it was rejected by the government after years of bitter campaigning and opposition, including from MPs and the now extinct borough councils.
And Cllr Mike Greene, BCP Council’s new portfolio holder for transport and sustainability, told the Daily Echo his stance on the specific wind farm project that was put forward remains unchanged.
“If there were any attempt to reopen the Navitus proposal, I will strongly urge BCP to challenge that,” said Cllr Greene.
“Wind farms in the right place and at the right price are going to be a major contributor to energy production and I will be a strong supporter of those but not where they are likely to damage the economy of an area that depends on tourism.
“If Navitus had been invisible from BCP and producing at the right price for the tax payer and energy bill payer, then I would have been 100 per cent behind it.
“I believe in wind energy, I just believe it has to be produced in the right place and where it doesn’t damage local economies.”
Earlier this year, a poll of Daily Echo online readers found 63 per cent said they would like to see a wind farm off the Dorset coast.
Cllr Greene said the case against Navitus Bay was extremely strong.
“Navitus wind farm as it was proposed was in the wrong place, as was argued by residents, businesses and visitors. There was a long and fully inquiry and the planning inspector agreed,” he said.
“In particular, even according to the applicant, more than 30 per cent of our tourist visitors said the presence of the Navitus wind farm would have made them less likely to return to BCP.
“That would have had a truly devastating impact on the tourism sector, which one in eight BCP residents depends for their livelihoods. Since Covid, the risk to jobs has become even more critical.
He added: “I am strongly supportive of renewable energy, including wind power, but it has to be provided that the wind farms are in the correct locations and that the power is generated in a way that provides good value for tax payers and those paying their energy bills.
“Where I am hugely encouraged by some of the stuff the government is doing is particularly in pressing on with different measures and incentives for people to save carbon and to save energy.
“Between ourselves and Dorset Council we have been awarded close to £900,000 to spend on insulating people’s homes and on energy efficiency measures. For me that is exactly the sort of sensible sustainability that I want to see and I believe as a new administration we will be pushing.
“It is a way of spending money, yes, but will allow our residents to cheapen their bills in the future in a way that also reduces carbon – that is the direction I would like to see in the future.”
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