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Navitus Bay Wind Park refused

Words: Laura Edgar

Energy minister Lord Bourne has announced development consent refusal for the proposed Navitus Bay offshore wind park.

Following strong local opposition, the decision supports the recommendation made by the Planning Inspectorate on 11 June, 2015.

The Department for Energy and Climate Change said the project, proposed for the area off the Dorset and Isle of Wight coasts, would have an “unacceptable” impact on the local landscape and tourism industry.

The proposed site for the wind farm is near two designated Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the Jurassic Coast in Dorset, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Accepted for examination on 8 May 2014, Navitus Bay Development Limited's application was for an offshore wind farm comprising up to 194 turbines that was expected to have a maximum installed capacity of 970 megawatts. It also included related onshore and offshore works – three offshore substations, a meteorology mast and electrical connections between the turbines.

The Planning Inspectorate’s chief executive, Simon Ridley, said: “Alongside national policy and evidence of the need for the project, the views and comments from communities, particularly those near the south-east coast of England who might be affected by this proposal, greatly assisted the Examining Authority in considering the overall impacts of the project.”

RenewableUK has declared the refusal a missed opportunity. Expressing disappointment, chief executive Maria McCaffrey said the decisions 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,” explained McCaffrey.

The decision letter can be found here.