UK rejects Navitus Bay offshore wind project

The UK Government has turned down a controversial £3.5 billion wind project off the south coast of England. The proposed Navitus Bay offshore wind farm was expected to have up […]

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By Priyanka Shrestha

The UK Government has turned down a controversial £3.5 billion wind project off the south coast of England.

The proposed Navitus Bay offshore wind farm was expected to have up to 194 turbines with a total capacity of 970MW.

That would generate enough electricity for 700,000 homes.

The application, which was submitted for consideration in April last year, has been dismissed by Energy Minister Lord Bourne amid concerns of “landscape and visual implications”.

The site is close to two Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and near the Jurassic Coast in Dorset, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

The decision supports the recommendation made by the Planning Inspectorate earlier this year.

A DECC Spokesperson said: “Careful consideration has been given to the application and the planning and energy issues involved.”

The project was to be developed by Navitus Bay Development Limited (NBDL), a joint venture between French energy company EDF and Dutch firm Eneco.

Stuart Grant, Project Director at Navitus Bay said the company is “clearly disappointed” by the decision.

RenewableUK CEO Maria McCaffery believes it is a “missed opportunity”, adding: “We’re failing to capitalise on the UK’s superb offshore wind resource and the economic benefits it brings. Years of hard work and significant investment went into developing this project which could have added £1.6 billion to the economy of the region and created up to 1,700 jobs – it’s most unfortunate that that has now been lost.”

Bournemouth Borough Council, which launched a campaign against the project earlier this year, welcomed the news.

Councillor John Beesley, Leader of Bournemouth Council said: “There is a huge sense of relief across Bournemouth today. Common sense has prevailed and our beautiful natural environment, coastline and dependent tourist industry have been protected for future generations.

“The scale of public reaction to EDF and Eneco’s Navitus Bay proposals to industrialise and irrevocably damage the outstandingly beautiful and natural Dorset coast was unprecedented.”