Report of public meeting about proposed windfarms

A public meeting organised by Bournemouth Conservative councillors was held on 23rd March at The Royal Bath Hotel about the proposed offshore windfarms which would be situated 12 miles off Bournemouth beach. The following is a report of this meeting by local activist Stewart MacArthur

I attended the talk in Bournemouth yesterday. I think the session was introduced by Cllr Mike Green?

First in was Cllr Beesley who said Navitus/Eneco has not been transparent, open and treating people like children. The usual concerns that it’s a World Heritage Site and Tourism affected and that Eneco would only confirm the final design of turbines – post consent.

Andrew Langley from Challenge Navitus
Highlighted that area is a national asset already and the project deserves close scrutiny. Gave some stats…
Navitus is now on round 3 of the public consultation.
Britain’s big wind farm areas are in the North Sea and Irish Sea and are located outside a 12 mile Nautical Mile zone. Bournemouth (zone 7) proposed site is within the 12 Nautical Miles. He highlighted the size of Navitus windfarm area. If transposed onto a land map, the site stretches from Sandbanks Peninsula to Ringwood, to Verwood, to Wimborne back to Sandbanks.
Is half the size of the I.O.W.
Anything between 138 to 218 wind turbines.
Durlston has the most affected views.
Turbines are 2 and a half times the height of I.O.W.
Highlighted we live in World Heritage site. Eneco the Dutch state owned corp. all there 100MW turbines in Dutch seas are 12 miles off shore and all smaller than Navitus proposed site and show considerable less impact visually than Navitus Bay.

Ray Pointer from Poole & Christchurch Bay Association (PCBA)
Phase 3 of Navitus ends 5th April.
Phase 4. Autumn 2013
Planning application: Feb/March 2014
The Secretary of State’s decision will be in 2015.
Listed the concerns, visual impact, environment, sailing and navigation.
Highlighted on Navitus’s consultation brochure page25. That their turbine diagram was inaccurate. The stem of turbine was accurate but the wings of the turbines were not, and are in fact much bigger.
Stated that all European companies and wind farms do not allow farms inside of 12 miles.
Eneco may only create 100+ jobs.
And put forward the thoughts of existing views on visitors to Bournemouth, that a main draw to the resort was the unspoilt beautiful views, and comparing to what may be the view by 2023.
Various diagrams showing scale of turbines against known landmarks such as The Gherkin London, Salisbury Cathedral. Imax. Bus, and sail boat.

Mark Smith Director of Tourism Bournemouth
Tourism brings half a Billion to the area.
Creates 18,000 jobs.
Scotland has the most existing wind farms and therefore the most research stats.
1 in 9 people are put off by going to an area with windfarms.
18% actively avoid going to an area with windfarm.
Holland & Germany have fixed exclusion zones on their windfarms.
Windfarms affect business and property prices.
Dutch beach goers have uninterrupted views due to their exclusion zones.
Navitus have not provided the facts and took up to 15 months to receive info and when info was received, Navitus then only allowed 4 and a half days to evaluate.
People want an extension to the consultation programme, and do not want big business to dominate and steamrolled approach when proposing this site on the beauty of Bournemouth & area.
Then some concerns/questions were voiced by the public/Bournemouth residents
Navitus were asked for visualisations of the Night time view of the windfarm but have failed to produce but have pledged this by the next public consultation in Sept. 2013.
There was no proper debate. One single view from a consistent panel. That the South West Tourism figures show no real impact on the environment and there needs to be a general debate.
Concern about the noise
There is airborne noise & underwater noise, but no data at the moment. These issues never seem to be known in advance and should press for the data.
Drew comparisons with the size of the Imax and that the Dutch windfarms are on 10% the size of Navitus proposed site and turbines are half the size and further out.

Dorset Friends of the Earth
No balance to the discussion.
What about the Bournemouth & Poole Renewables incentive, to make 15% of energy from renewables by 2020?
Cllr Beesley: Are following Government guidelines, is getting updates this afternoon and we are not ignoring those concerns.
We must encourage renewables, but also must respect the local environment.

Terrorist Threat
Will we in 55 years time realise that the only safe alternative for Dorset is Nuclear Power.

Night Views
Eneco don’t seem to think night views were important, hotels worried that night views over bay, the assets of these views will be compromised.

Connor Burns and Robert Syms and Richard Drax have been active in Westminster concerning Navitus.
They have asked Eneco a simple question…
How many, where, how tall, what do they look like?
We are none the wiser and no better informed.
The decision is down to the Secretary of State and will be the biggest decision facing Bournemouth in 25 years.
Get involved, respond to MPs and Navitus.

Approx 380 people attended.

My opinion: Complete propaganda and gave NO voice to opposition, the only voice was from a public question from A local Greenpeace rep. (Andrea?) and one young man who got an irate response from Connor Burns. No depth to anything the councillors said, just listing off words, like “environmental concerns” but not willing to address in any depth what those concerns are. The biggest applause came to a public statement that in “55 years we will look back and wonder why we didn’t propose nuclear…unless we come to our senses.”…which was somewhat worrying. I also had fun by staring intently and menacingly at Beesley, Burns, Kelsey from the stairway like DeNiro in Taxi Driver ….but that’s just personal.

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