United Kingdom

United Kingdom

Navitus Bay receives record planning responses

UK: The UK's offshore sector has taken a battering over the last year, with around 3GW of projects either abandoned or put up for sale.

Durlston Head will be 14.3 kilometres from Navitus Bay (Pic: Andrew Writer)
Durlston Head will be 14.3 kilometres from Navitus Bay (Pic: Andrew Writer)

Even the much vaunted 33GW figure associated with the 2010 Round 3 tender have been discarded following a 'renegotiation' by seabed landlord the Crown Estate.

Arguably, one project that seems to be under a fair amount of pressure is the 970MW Navitus Bay wind farm planned 14.3 kilometres off England's south coast. The project has already been downsized twice since 2012, has faced opposition from the local council and MP, and is alleged to be sitting in difficult seabed that is problematic in terms of piling.

The project is a 50-50 joint venture between EDF and Eneco Wind.

The latest is that the UK's Planning Inspectorate received a record 2,680 "representations" for the development — more representations than any other offshore wind development handled by the Planning Inspectorate.

The examining authority refuses to categorise registrations as "for" or "against" a project but the majority who register an interest, especially members of the public, are commonly against an application.

RWE Innogy's cancelled Atlantic Array project was the previous record holder having received 1,776 registrations, although the project's demise was largely in response to problems in RWE's German home market.

Project Representations Outcome
Navitus Bay 2,680 Under review
Atlantic Array 1,776 Cancelled due to technical difficulties
Rampion 212 Under review
East Anglia One 119 Approved
Triton Knoll 57 Approved







Navitus Bay has been regularly featured in the local press, with anti-wind campaigners criticising its potential effect on the area. There have also been accusations that the coastal area's Unesco World Heritage Site status is under threat, and some are worried about the impact on the region's tourism and environment.

A spokesperson for the Planning Inspectorate told Windpower Monthly: "Anyone who registers as an interested party is able to fully participate in the examination of the application, give their views about the proposal to the examining authority and be kept informed of its progress.

"The examining authority is impartial and will consider all the issues raised, whether the interested party is in favour or against the proposal."

Navitus Bay project director Mike Unsworth said the level of registrations was welcome: "During our extensive public consultation process we always went above and beyond to make local residents and businesses aware of the project proposals, as well as how they can make their voices heard.

"In light of this work, we are pleased to learn that so many people have registered with the Planning Inspectorate as interested parties."

Since the plans were announced. a variety of concerns have been raised about Navitus Bay, which has already twice been reduced in size in order to be located further from land.

Natural England, a government-backed public body protecting the UK's natural environment, has expressed a concern that the turbines will affect the Atlantic salmon fishing industry and prevent the fish from returning to spawning grounds.

A section of the coastline is also a Unesco World Heritage site, meaning it has "outstanding examples" of geology that should be preserved. Many bodies and a local MP have criticised the development, saying it would threaten this status. However, speaking to Windpower Monthly, Unesco denied this claim. More recently it was also rebutted by UK culture minister Ed Vaizey.

At the same time, this has not stopped Dorset County Council's planning committee has expressed concerns over possible light pollution caused by the turbines' signal lights at night, a claim echoed by the Wessex Astronomical Society when it registered as an interested party.

The project is set to come online in 2020.

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