United Kingdom

United Kingdom

Navitus Bay will not affect Unesco world heritage status

UK: The Unesco status of the Jurassic Coast on England's southern coast will be unaffected by the 970MW Navitus Bay offshore project, despite claims to the contrary by a local Conservative Party MP.

Peveril point, on the Jurassic Coast, forms part of Swanage Bay
Peveril point, on the Jurassic Coast, forms part of Swanage Bay

Unesco protects the Jurassic Coast in Dorset and Devon under criteria VIII of the World Heritage Convention.

Local MP Richard Drax, who backs the local anti-wind farm group Challenge Navitus, said in December: "An industrial, offshore site, with all the maintenance it will need, will threaten our precious, Unesco world heritage site designation."

The World Heritage Convention states that the site has "outstanding examples representing major stages of earth's history, including the record of life, significant ongoing geological processes in the development of landforms, or significant geomorphic or physiographic features".

A Unesco press spokesperson said: "It is up to the World Heritage Committee to decide whether a site gets heritage site status. The question is whether the committee thinks the criteria will be affected."

The area protected is limited to the shoreline itself, and the nearest Navitus Bay turbine will be located 14.4 kilometres from the coast.

"The Navitus Bay development does not threaten the geology that is protected under criteria VIII of the Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention.

"You can't stop everything that goes on in a world heritage site. Just because it's on the list, doesn't mean it has an exclusion zone around it," the spokesman added.

The World Heritage Committee is aware of the development but is not currently planning to discuss the issues at the next committee meeting in June. Unesco will continue to monitor the situation. 

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