Navitus Bay offshore windfarm plans officially rejected

Plans to build the UK’s biggest offshore windfarm have been rejected by the Secretary of State, following a recommendation from the Planning Inspectorate

Local politicians have reacted with relief and delight after the Government rejected plans to build the UK’s largest offshore windfarm between the Isle of Wight and the Jurassic Coast.

Navitus Bay would have comprised 121 turbines measuring up to 650ft in height, but the Secretary of State has quashed the plans following widespread opposition.

The decision was taken last week (September 11) after the Planning Inspectorate took the unprecedented step of recommending that the plans be refused.

All 42 of the “nationally significant infrastructure project” applications received up to this pointed had been recommended for approval by the PI.

Navitus Bay proposed areaProfessor Andrew Langley from protest group Challenge Navitus said: “We regret that so much time and effort has been put into examining a proposal that was clearly flawed from the outset and in a zone (pictured above) that should never have been included in the national offshore wind farm plan.

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“We call on the developer to accept the government’s decision and abandon its plans for good.”

EDF and Eneco, who were behind the Navitus Bay proposal, now have six weeks to launch a judicial appeal, however this can only query the way in which the decision has been made, rather than the rights and wrongs of the decision itself.

Sense of relief

Meanwhile, the Secretary of State’s decision has been welcomed by the Royal Yachting Association, which had been vocal in its opposition to the plans.

Stuart Carruthers, cruising manager at the RYA, said: “We recognise that offshore wind farms make a useful contribution to renewable energy generation, but it is crucial that they are correctly sited.

“It was quite clear from comments received by the RYA and by the Examining Authority that the mere presence of the development would have resulted in a significant loss of amenity for those who enjoy all aspects of boating in this part of the UK.

“It would also have had a detrimental impact on the local leisure marine industry.”

His sentiments were echoed by local politicians who had claimed that the construction of an offshore windfarm would tarnish the views from the Jurassic Coast and have a knock-on effect on the tourism industry.

John Beesle, leader of Bournemouth Council, said: “There is a huge sense of relief across Bournemouth.

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

Richard Drax, MP for South Dorset, added that he was “delighted” with the decision, calling it “a victory for common sense”.

However, EDF and Eneco refused to rule out submitting a new plan for an offshore windfarm, with Stuart Grant, project director at Navitus Bay, simply commenting: “We will now discuss the options available with our shareholders.”


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