IT is one of the most controversial plans ever in the south.
Almost 3,000 people and organisations have registered to have their say over a massive wind farm planned off the Hampshire coast.
It is thought to be a record figure for such a scheme.
Arguments continue to rage over the proposed Navitus Bay development, which could see as many as 194 wind turbines as tall as 200 metres placed off the coast – less than 12 miles from Milford on Sea and just 14.5 miles from Lymington. They would be clearly visible from Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.
The scheme was due to be discussed in the House of Commons today in an adjournment debate secured by Bournemouth West MP Conor Burns, who formerly stood for Parliament unsuccessfully in Eastleigh.
The deadline to become an interested party with the Planning Inspectorate, which will make the decision on the plans, has now passed.
Around 2,700 registrations have been made, thought to be far higher than for any other offshore wind project, including the abandoned Atlantic Array off the south coast of Wales.
All are now available to view on the Planning Inspectorate’s website.
Roy Pointer, chairman of the Poole and Christchurch Bays Association, which represents a host of residents’ groups, said: “What is striking when you look at the comments is that the vast majority of businesses, individuals, MPs and NGOs are strongly against the project.
“Our analysis shows that 90 per cent of those who registered are opposed to this giant inshore industrial project for a variety of valid reasons.”
A wide range of organisations and individuals have raised worries over a raft of issues – including the visual impact, threats to boating and fishing and the potential impact on the area's tourism industry.
But some of those registered are supporting the project, including Friends of the Earth (FoE).
Angela Pooley, co-ordinator of East Dorset FoE, which is a member of BH Green, an umbrella group that includes the Green Party, Greenpeace, Poole Agenda 21, Transition Bournemouth, Transition Christchurch and Transition Poole, said it believed that the “negativity is misguided and based on anecdotal information and, sadly, a degree of ‘nimbyism’.”
She added: “The BH Green Group, including East Dorset FoE, believes that if we don’t move to more sustainable forms of energy, the negative effects of climate change will have a far greater impact locally and globally than the wind farm.
“Wind farms aren’t the total answer to providing sustainable energy, but they are part of the solution. Therefore we hope that Navitus Bay wind farm gets approval.”