Surfing campaigners to scrutinise 1.1GW project plans

UK: Campaigning group Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) are to hold meetings with developers of the 1.1GW Navitus Bay offshore wind farm to discuss the possible impact on waves and surfing beaches on nearby coasts.

A rendering showing how the project will look from Swanage Bay, Dorset

SAS said the project's developers Navitus Bay Development (NBD) had commissioned independent studies into the likely impact of the wind farm on surfing beaches and wave height near Bournemouth and on the Isle of Wight.

The surfing group said it supported the development of renewable energy sources, including offshore projects, but it would examine each new development to assess its impact on surfing and coastal environments.

SAS claimed victory late last year after E.ON, developers of the 700MW Rampion offshore wind farm, announced changes to its designs for the project in the English Channel off Brighton.

SAS said the original design could have cut wave heights on beaches around Brighton by up to 22 per cent. E.ON altered the project, agreeing to limit the maximum number of gravity-based foundations, to ensure wave height would not be reduced by more than 3%.

A revised plan for the Navitus Bay project was announced last year, meaning a reduction in the wind farm's visual impact from the shore. Developers announced it would be sited further offshore, its capacity and area would be reduced, and the maximum turbine numbers would be cut by over a third.

The maximum number of turbines for the project is now 218, rather than 333, and they will be shorter at up to 200 metres, instead of 210.

Navitus Bay Development, a 50:50 joint venture between Eneco Wind UK and EDF Energy has already held a series of public information series at venues along the Dorset and Hampshire coast and the Isle of Wight this summer.