Navitus Bay wind farm plans rejected by Government

The Government has thrown out plans for a controversial wind farm off the coast of Dorset and Hampshire.

Developers EDF and Eneco had submitted plans for an offshore wind farm with 194 turbines which would have a maximum installed generating capacity of 970MW and be connected to shore on the Dorset coast.

But following a public inquiry and a long-running campaign against the proposals by Bournemouth Borough Council, Energy Minister Lord Bourne rejected the proposals, including a “mitigation option” for a smaller wind farm with 105 turbines and an installed capacity of 630MW.

The council had objected to the plans because of the impact the proposed wind farm might have on the local tourism industry and how it could impact on the local views and scenery.

Bournemouth Borough Council leader, Cllr John Beesley said there was a “huge sense of relief” across the town following the news.

“Common sense has prevailed and our beautiful natural environment, coastline and dependent tourist industry have been protected for future generations,” said Cllr Beesley.

“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.  

“The environmental degradation and risk to the setting of the World Heritage status of the Jurassic Coast would have had a very negative and long term impact on the area.  Evidence supplied by the developer warned of substantial economic damage to tourism and business confidence.

Navitus Bay Project Director Stuart Grant said while they were disappointed by the decision, they would like to “thank the communities of Dorset, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight and all our stakeholders for the high level of engagement they've shown in the project, including their responses to our consultations and during the examination process”. 

“During the past five years the project team has carried out comprehensive stakeholder and community consultation. We will now discuss the options available with our shareholders and update stakeholders in due course,” added Mr Grant.

Jamie Hailstone is a freelance journalist and author, specializing in local government, transport and energy issues