North Devon Atlantic Array wind farm 'still viable'

Atlantic Array
Image caption RWE Innogy dropped the Atlantic Array plan, saying it was "not the right time for it"

Attempts to revive plans for a 240-wind turbine farm off the north Devon coast, are being made by business leaders.

Developers behind the Atlantic Array - RWE Innogy - pulled out of the project, claiming it was not financially viable.

They had proposed to build the farm across 200 sq km (77 sq miles) of the Bristol Channel.

Devon and Cornwall Business Council said it would create jobs, but its potential impact on marine wildlife provoked opposition.

The crown estate had agreed the licence for the scheme to go ahead with RWE, which dropped the scheme two weeks ago, and the council wants a new firm to step in.

The farm could create 500 jobs, with another 500 staff required to maintain and run it, the council claims.

'Still viable'

Tim Jones, chair, travelled to London with the backing of Regen South West - a not-for-profit organisation which promotes renewable energy - to lobby the crown estate.

"This project would deliver a £500m boost to the south west's economy," he said.

"A lot of people recognise this is one of the biggest opportunities around the coast of the UK."

He said the project fell through for a number of reasons, including that RWE has "its own problems in Europe at the moment".

"The government have endorsed off-shore wind and we believe this is an opportunity we must get hold of and see if there is a chance to resuscitate it," Mr Jones said.

Opposition 'will continue'

But Kevin Cook, an anti-Array campaigner, said that if the project is revived, they will fight it again.

"There is no evidence to show that this would have benefited north Devon, the figures aren't there, there is nothing definite," he said.

Mr Cook said that instead of focusing on reviving the Atlantic Array he would like to see people get behind other renewable energy projects.

"We have got incredible energy out here provided by the sea and we should be using that in this environment in such a way that we get the maximum yield with the minimum impact on the environment," he said.

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