Anti-windfarm campaigners claim changes made by developers to the South Coast Navitus Bay windfarm are ‘truly minimal’. Mike Owen, of the group Challenge Navitus, said: ‘The change in distance offshore is very slight and the suggested reduction in turbine count simply means they’ll have to take the bigger, taller option to achieve the power output. In fact the developer’s news is not a game changer at all.’
Changes to the plans for the Navitus Bay windfarm off the Dorset coast are, he said, a missed opportunity and would have only a small effect on the impact of this huge development on the region.
David Lloyd, spokesman for CN, said: ‘The changes seem to address primarily a problem with ship navigation to the North of the farm. Even in its revised form, if it were built today, the windfarm would still be the biggest in the world and remain totally out of proportion in an area that is home to England’s only natural UNESCO World Heritage Site and two Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Our region is a highly valuable national asset, economically, environmentally and culturally, and it is counter-productive to place this at risk when it contributes so much.’
Mr Lloyd said that despite the latest changes, at its closest point the windfarm would still be only 8.9 miles from the coast. ‘From Durlston and the World Heritage Site, the span of the revised development area is 59°, so the windfarm could be well over double the apparent width of the Isle of Wight and nearly three times its apparent height. While the reductions in visibility from Bournemouth and Christchurch are welcome, a far more radical overhaul is needed to significantly mitigate the effects of the windfarm.’
‘Our concerns and those of the public at large have been barely addressed by these changes, which is disappointing given NBDL’s claim to be serious about the consultation process. Navitus Bay would produce less than 3% of the total planned offshore wind power, and we think that far more thought should be given to alternatives before this fantastic national asset is degraded,’ he added.
Mike Unsworth, project director for Navitus Bay Development Limited, said: ‘We have moved the site significantly further from the coast, reducing the potential visual and navigational impact of the Wind Park.
‘In addition, we have reduced the maximum number of turbines in the proposal and reduced the height of the tallest turbine.
‘We feel that these significant adjustments to the plans strike a good balance between responses that we have had from consultees and the technical viability from an environmental, engineering, shipping and commercial perspective.
‘The changes demonstrate that Navitus Bay is fully engaged in the debate and willing to listen.’