This week, I submitted my official response to the consultation on the Navitus Bay Wind Farm development plans. Below is the copy of my submission; if you would like to register to submit your own opinions on the development, go to the following website address and complete the online submission form by the deadline of Monday 23rd June;
MY CONSULTATION SUBMISSION;
"I am writing to you in my capacity as the Member of Parliament for Bournemouth East to formally and officially express my opposition to the plans for a Navitus Bay offshore wind farm in Bournemouth.
Before setting out my arguments, I wish to emphasise that I am for the most part a supporter of offshore wind farms, which have the potential to supply the UK with a clean and renewable source of energy.
However, after attending numerous consultations and local residents’ meetings, and having already received many hundreds of individual pieces of correspondence from constituents opposing the plans, I do not feel that the benefits of this wind farm development outweigh the numerous negative implications for the local area.
My main objections are as follows;
- There would be enormous visual intrusion to the detriment of Bournemouth and other locations along the coast. The backlit turbines in the mouth of Poole Bay would be completely inappropriate in this place of beauty.
- The plans are in breach of government guidelines regarding distance from the coast. These say that the normal distance should be at least 12 nautical miles but could well need to be more than this for sensitive locations, as here.
- The setting of the World Heritage Site, known as the Jurassic Coast, would be compromised by the unattractive array of wind turbines and offshore electricity substations. WHS status could easily be lost.
- The wind farm site is across the line of important bird migrations. For example, each year we see the start of the annual mass exodus south of swallows, house martins and meadow pippits. In a bird migration survey last year, Christchurch Harbour Ornithological Group counted c. 40000 in just a few hours. Many birds would die.
- There would be a big increase in sailing danger, something that the Royal Yachting Association have already highlighted in expressing their opposition to the plans.
- There is no satisfactory noise assessment yet completed to our knowledge. The brief report in PEI 3 is sketchy and unhelpful. Until an independent satisfactory noise risk report is available, this ground of objection must stand.
- I consider the consultation to be invalid due to misleading visuals and lack of adequate information. For example, the photomontages generally show the turbines without blades above the hubs.
- Tourism would be seriously damaged because Bournemouth, as Britain’s premier resort, is very dependent on the beautiful views from the cliffs. In 2012, Dorset Tourism Partnership noted the large contribution that tourism makes to Bournemouth’s local economy, employing around 12,000 local people (15% of local employment), and attracting 7 million visitors to the town each year bringing in a total of £480million in local spending. The unspoilt, attractive seaside views (and our award-winning beach) undoubtedly play a large part in Bournemouth’s attraction for tourists, something that I feel would be significantly negatively impacted by this offshore wind farm development.
- This would be particularly noticeable during the construction phase with the added nuisance of noise, construction traffic, and building works. There would also be inevitable disruption and damage to the New Forest National Park and surrounding areas because of the huge HGV’s required to transport materials and cables, and the disruption to the area caused by digging up a large path for cable instillation that is required to get the energy ashore.
In conclusion, I feel that the plans are not only insufficiently beneficial, but inherently damaging to the local Bournemouth area, and for these reasons I will be firmly opposing the plans.
Tobias Ellwood, Member of Parliament for Bournemouth East. "