Councillors at Christchurch Borough Council have voted unanimously to object to the proposed wind farm application by Navitus Bay.
At a specially-convened meeting of the full council, members were presented with a Local Impact Report which detailed the key issues affecting the Borough of Christchurch which would arise from the wind farm. These included the impact on the characteristics of the local coastal, rural, urban and marine landscapes arising from offshore developments as well as the visual impact of the wind farm. Onshore issues included the impact on landscape character and on designated habitats associated with the proposed cable route. Members agreed that the Local Impact Report be submitted to the Planning Inspectorate.
A debate was held on the formal council position with regards to the development. Cllr Ray Nottage, Leader of the council, proposed objecting to the development stating that there were too many unknowns as to the effect of the wind farm on sea life, migrating birds, the sea bed, as well as the visual effect from Christchurch and the surrounding area, to do anything other than object. He also said that a consultation carried out with residents showed that the vast majority were against the development.
Cllr Margaret Phipps, portfolio holder for the environment, seconded the proposal to object saying: “The environmental impact of this supposedly ‘green’ wind farm is huge. Surely producing renewable energy isn’t supposed to involve this sort of destruction to seascape, landscape and wildlife?
“Perhaps wind power can contribute to the National Grid, but everything has its place, and this proposal is in the wrong place. Turbines too close to shore and on a migratory bird route; the cable route corridor too long and too wide. The entire proposal has massive environmental and ecological consequences.”
Members agreed to the proposal that the council makes a clear statement that it objects to the Navitus Bay development.