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UK Government Rejects Huge Offshore Wind Farm

BBC News

A proposed wind farm off the south coast of England has been refused consent by the government.

Navitus Bay mock-up

Developers behind the Navitus Bay project – for up to 121 turbines off Dorset, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight – say it would have provided electricity for up to 700,000 homes.

Opponents said it would damage tourism and was too close to protected coasts.

It is the first time the Department of Energy and Climate Change has refused permission for an offshore project.

The £3.5bn Navitus Bay plan, developed jointly by Dutch firm Eneco and French giant EDF Energy A, would have had up to 121 8MW turbines at 200m (656ft) high.

The Planning Inspectorate spent six months studying the plans, which developers said would contribute £1.6bn to the UK’s economy over 25 years.

MHI Vestas Offshore Wind would have made the 80m-long blades at its factory in Newport on the Isle of Wight – six years after it shut a plant on the island, axing 425 jobs and sparking an 18-day sit-in by workers.

But all surrounding local authorities, except the Isle of Wight Council, were opposed to the scheme, and campaigners feared it would have a negative impact on the area’s tourist industry.

Bournemouth Borough Council had claimed the turbines, 13.3 miles out to sea from the resort, would detract tourists from visiting, risking almost 5,000 local jobs and cause a total economic loss of £6.3bn.

There were also fears it could lead to the loss of the Jurassic Coast’s Unesco World Heritage Status.

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