Navitus Bay wind farm 'should pay £1bn to tourism businesses'

Navitus Bay area
Image caption Bournemouth Borough Council said the wind farm would have a "significant negative impact on the visitor economy"

The developers behind a planned wind farm off the south coast should pay businesses adversely affected £1bn in compensation, an authority has claimed.

The Navitus Bay scheme is for 194 turbines off Dorset, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

Bournemouth Borough Council said its report showed "significant negative impact on the visitor economy".

But Stuart Grant, senior project manager for Navitus Bay, said they did not accept its findings.

The plans have attracted more comment than any other offshore wind farm, according to the Planning Inspectorate.

'Appropriate' funds

Public hearings are taking place at the Highcliff Marriott Hotel in Bournemouth.

A report presented by Mark Smith, director of tourism, claimed £6.3bn would be taken out of the local economy, with 4,923 jobs lost.

"The tourism interests would only be protected if the developer is required to mitigate the tourism loss by providing funding of £32.5m per annum and £975m over the lifetime of the project [30 years] to the affected areas.

"This would enable a sufficient level of additional marketing, event and attraction infrastructure development to give each resort the opportunity to regain the lost trade," he said.

"This would effectively transfer the business risk of winning back the replacement tourism income and employment [and] present a realistic prospect of regaining the current levels of trade," the report adds.

But Mr Grant denied the project would have a significant impact on tourism.

"That's evidenced by the 22 existing offshore projects around the UK. We've not seen figures to date on any other project like that.

"We'll look at the impacts that we'll have as a project - which are insignificant - and make any funds appropriate to those impacts."

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