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UK Government Refuses 970 MW Navitus Bay Offshore Wind Farm

The UK Government’s Energy Minister refused planning approval for the 970 MW Navitus Bay offshore wind farm on Friday.

UK Energy Minister, Lord Bourne, announced Friday that development consent had been refused for the proposed Navitus Bay offshore wind farm, after “careful consideration [had] been given to the application, and the planning and energy issues involved.”

The planned Navitus Bay offshore wind farm, which would have consisted of 194 wind turbines and generated the equivalent of enough electricity to power 700,000 homes a year, was to be built off the south coast of England, in the English Channel, 13.4 miles off the coast from Bournemouth and 10.9 miles from the western tip of the Isle of Wight.Navitus-1

In the decision letter (PDF) sent to Stuart Grant, the Project Director of Navitus Bay Development Limited, a number of reasons were given for the refusal. The Examining Authority argued that the project “would produce significant and relatively long term (25 years) impact on sites designated as Areas of Outstanding National Beauty (AONB) and on Heritage Coasts during the operation of the project.” Further, the Examining Authority’s assessment concluded that there would “be a significant adverse impact on the perception of viewers standing on the coastlines.”

Other issues were raised that ranged from adversely affecting the use and enjoyment of a World Heritage Site to impacting recreational diving, tourism and socio-economic considerations, to noise and vibration issues that even the Examining Authority had said “that no significant weight should be accorded to.”

“While we are clearly disappointed by today’s decision, we 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,” said Stuart Grant. “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.”

“It’s deeply disappointing that Navitus Bay has been refused consent,” said RenewableUK’s Chief Executive, Maria McCaffery. “This is a missed opportunity as it means 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.”

Image Credit: Bournemouth Viewpoint, via Navitus Bay

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