Wind farm extension requires 'no shipping re-routing'

Walney offshore wind farm Walney offshore wind farm is said to be one of the largest in the world

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A proposed extension to an offshore wind farm near the Cumbrian coast will not require any re-routing of Isle of Man shipping lanes, say the developers.

A spokesman from Dong Energy said the 200-turbine development would not, in isolation, present any problems.

The extension is being proposed to a 102-turbine wind farm off Walney Island which opened earlier this year.

Emily Marshall, from Dong Energy, said: "We can confirm that re-routing shipping lanes will not be an issue."

She added: "However, the Irish Sea is getting busier with other projects in the development phase and we are undertaking cumulative impact assessments for people who are concerned, with regards to commercial interests."

'Little white dots'

The island's ferry operator the Steam Packet company has expressed concern about how future wind farm development in the Irish Sea will affect shipping routes between the Isle of Man and the United Kingdom.

The Manx government is currently in talks with both developers and UK regulators about the potential impact.

If the plans are approved, it is thought work could get under way in 2016.

The Walney offshore wind farm is situated 9.3 miles (15km) west of Barrow-in-Furness and if the plans go ahead the farm will become visible from the island.

"On a very, very clear day people on the Isle of Man will be able to see little white dots on the horizon," said Ms Marshall.

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