Dorset MPs object to Navitus Bay wind farm plan

Navitus Bay area The firm behind the project said polls indicated there was "majority support" for the scheme

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A number of MPs representing the Dorset coast have objected to plans for a wind farm off the Jurassic Coast.

The Conservative MPs, including Richard Drax, told BBC Dorset political reporter Tristan Pascoe they had submitted objection letters during the Navitus Bay public consultation.

If approved, the development would be built off the coast of Dorset, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

Navitus Bay said research showed "majority support" for the scheme.

Plans for the development, which would comprise 194 wind turbines up to 200m (650ft) high, were submitted in April amid claims it would contribute £1.6bn to the economy over 25 years, and would generate power for up to 700,000 homes.

Mr Drax, MP for South Dorset, said the project would be a "blight" on the coastline.

The other Conservative Dorset MPs objecting to the plans are Poole's Robert Syms, Christchurch MP Christopher Chope, and Bournemouth MPs Tobias Ellwood and Conor Burns.

Oliver Letwin, MP for West Dorset, said as the proposal does not affect his constituency he did not intend to say anything about it.

'Lead on technology'

Earlier this month, the Conservative group, which leads the Borough of Poole Council with a minority, said the scheme had "major economic, environmental and sustainability concerns".

Bournemouth Borough Council has also said key issues of concern for councillors and residents include the effects on tourism and the visual impact.

The plans were also dealt a blow when UNESCO said the World Heritage Status of the Jurassic Coast could be withdrawn if the scheme goes ahead.

However, the Green Party has spoken out in favour of the plans calling them an "opportunity for Dorset to lead on technology of the future".

Up to 70% of people polled during independent research supported the scheme, according to Navitus Bay senior project manager Stuart Grant.

The Planning Inspectorate consultation, which ends later, has received about 1,800 comments.

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