United Kingdom

United Kingdom

Navitus Unesco status remains unaffected

UK: Unesco has repeated its position that the world heritage site status of Dorset's Jurassic Coast, close to the 970MW Navitus Bay project, is not under threat by the development.

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

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This comes after reports the secretary of state for culture, media and sport, Sajid Javid, said he would "review" the plans for the wind farm.

However, it appears Javid will instead review his department's involvement in protecting the world heritage site during the planning process and not the actual plans for the wind farm.

The Department of Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) is responsible for protecting the UK's world heritage sites.

In a Commons Committee questioning, Bournemouth MP Connor Burns, a vocal opponent of the project, asked Javid whether he would review the process the department took during the planning process and whether the department had handled its responsibilities correctly.

In response, Javid said, "It's a very important issue. I would be more than happy to look at it in more detail and review it."

DCMS told Windpower Monthly, "This is a planning matter in which all views and concerns including those of world heritage will be considered."

Concerns about the world heritage status were raised when a report by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) criticised the project, in May 2014. IUCN is an advisory body to Unesco.

A Unesco spokesperson said the IUCN report should be "taken seriously" but there have been no consequences from the report.

Culture minister, Ed Vaizey, who works in Javid's deparment, told Parliament in July 2014 the world heritage status was not under threat.

"It is important to stress that it is a World Heritage Site not on the basis of its natural setting, but because of its unique geological interest," Vaizey said.

Update 13.31: Since this article was published, the BBC has amended its earlier report to say the DCMS is reviewing its own conduct.

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