The World Heritage organisation has claimed that Navitus Bay would alter the “natural setting” of the Jurassic Coast
Plans for the UK’s largest offshore windfarm have been met with resistance from the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation.
The body, which designates World Heritage status, has objected to the Navitus Bay plans, arguing that its construction would compromise views from the Jurassic Coast.
The protected Devon/Dorset coastline is just 8.9 miles (14.3km) from the planned windfarm development, and Unesco claims that the Government would be failing in its duty to protect the coast if the plans were to go ahead in their current form.
A study from Unesco’s scientific arm, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature concluded:
“The completion of the [Navitus Bay] Project would result in the property [the Jurassic Coast] being presented and transmitted to future generations in a form that is significantly different from what was there at the time of inscription and until today.”
The IUCN added that as a result of Navitus Bay, the Jurassic Coast would “change from being located in a natural setting that is largely free from man-made structures to one where its setting is dominated by man-made structures”.
Campaign group Challenge Navitus hailed the submission by the international conversation body as a “major step in the assessment of the proposal”.
It points out that a similar situation relating to Mont Saint-Michel in France
resulted in the French government excluding windfarms from the region.
Full plans for Navitus Bay are currently being considered by the Planning Inspectorate, and members of the public have until 23 June to register their views as an interested party.
Opposition from the boating community has been widespread, with many safety concerns raised, including the disruption of sightlines and the added risk created when navigating the area in foggy conditions.