Navitus Bay offshore wind farm consultation starts

Offshore wind farm
Image caption The wind farm would be located off the Dorset and Hampshire Coast

People in Hampshire, Isle of Wight and Dorset will be able to learn more about a controversial £3bn offshore wind farm at local drop-in sessions.

Navitus Bay proposes building up to 218 turbines off the Dorset and Hampshire coast and west of the Isle of Wight.

The company has said the wind farm could generate enough electricity to power up to 790,000 homes each year.

Campaign groups have expressed concern about the visual impact on the Dorset coast, a Unesco World Heritage Site.

David Lloyd, a member of Challenge Navitus, said the consultation was "a complete waste of time" and described it as a "box ticking exercise".

"They hired out a church hall in Swanage from 9am to midday, when most people are at work," he said.

"There were no displays, just two people and chairs."

He said the proposed wind farm was planned for a busy shipping area, would disrupt migrating birds and would have a negative visual impact on the area.

'Destroy beauty'

Charlie Sanderson, an artist who lives in Swanage, organised a public protest against the wind farm in January which attracted hundreds of people for and against the scheme.

She said: "It would be an eyesore and destroy the beauty of the area for the profit of a few foreign companies.

"It's never going to be acceptable in the location that's been proposed.

"It would kill birds and dolphins and disturb them so they wouldn't come to this area any more."

Navitus Bay project director Mike Unsworth said: "Navitus Bay is committed to communicating honestly and openly with members of the public to ensure that they are given as much information as possible about the proposed wind park...

"We are still listening and will continue to act on the feedback we receive. We would therefore encourage as many people as possible to come to these sessions to hear more about our proposals and to make their views known."

Navitus has also announced a shortlist of three local ports - Poole, Portland and Yarmouth - which would host the wind park's operations and maintenance functions.

The company estimates its operation and maintenance base would create 160 jobs annually.

The three-hour drop-in sessions will be held in eight different locations across the region.

Details can be found on the Navitus Bay website.

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