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23 July 2014, 13:28
An independent report's found the proposed Navitus Bay wind farm would be bad for Bournemouth.
It's the conclusion of a detailed local impact report commissioned by Bournemouth Borough Council into the likely effects of the 194 wind turbines, each up to 200 metres in height.
At today’s Cabinet meeting (23 July 2014), councillors have backed the findings of the report. It says hundreds of thousands of potential visitors are expected to be put off visiting the resort during the construction and operational phases of the wind farm, with many staying away permanently.
Leader of Bournemouth Borough Council, Cllr John Beesley, said:
“Residents who attended our public meeting told us they are opposed to this wind farm, and now the report clearly shows that this proposal is bad for Bournemouth. The unequivocal evidence is that it will have a huge negative impact on our tourism economy, our residents and our environment.
"These are compelling reasons for us to object and, I hope, also convincing enough for the Planning Inspectorate to recommend refusal to the Secretary of State.”
According to Navitus’ own figures, 32 per cent of the resort’s seven million annual visitors would be put off coming to Bournemouth during the four and a half year construction phase, with a long term downturn of 14 per cent.
Any loss in the number of visitors to the resort would have a direct potential negative impact on spend in the town and so on employment. The Local Impact Report found that any potential income from the wind farm would be outweighed by a substantial loss to the tourist trade and the local economy.
Cllr Beesley continued:
“The beauty of the natural environment, and in particular the view from Bournemouth’s cliffs and seafront is the main attraction for visitors to Bournemouth. Any degree of industrialisation on this would have a negative impact on the resort and those looking to Bournemouth as a conference venue or an attractive place to study. These groups all contribute to the financial health of Bournemouth and we must do all that we can to maintain our town’s attractiveness to them.”
A council statement said:
"Other concerns raised in the report include the impact on water quality. With four Blue Flag beaches of its own and another four in Poole, the bay has more Blue Flags than any other beach destination in the UK. We are concerned that there will be a risk to water quality, threatening our cherished Blue Flag status.
"Furthermore, we are concerned about the long term implications on our residents who live in the direct line of noise and vibrations transmitted across the water from the wind farm. Our report concludes that these are not insignificant."
Other issues discussed include the negative impact on wildlife. The borough has 10 local nature reserves, 14 sites of national importance, four SSSIs and three protected sites of heathland. The report found that important migrant birds such as the nightjar, hobby and hen harrier would be harmed as a result of the wind farm development.
In May, UNESCO warned it could lead to Dorset's Jurassic Coast losing it's World Heritage status, because it would stop being a 'natural setting largely free from man-made structures'.