Reduction in offshore wind farm fails to silence protest
Campaigners opposed to a massive wind farm off the North Devon coast have said giving the proposal a "haircut" has not made it any less monstrous.
RWE npower renewables have today released an update to their plans for the Atlantic Array, billed as one of the largest green energy projects of its kind in Europe.
It scales down the footprint of the wind farm from 238 sq km to 200sq km and includes a decrease in the maximum number of turbines from 278 to 240. A new application will be submitted in June
However, Steve Crowther, spokesman for the Slay the Array campaign, said the adjustments were no more than "minor" tweaking and did not go far enough. "The developers seem to think that by lifting their petticoats and shaving a bit off the proposed development area nearest to the North Devon coast they will be making a difference," he said.
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"But these 240 turbines, at 720ft tall, will still be less than 12 nautical miles off our coast, and twice the height of Lundy.
"The developers themselves admit that all 240 will be visible from Rhossili, St Govan's Head, Worms Head, Mumbles Head, Lynton, Ilfracombe, Mortehoe, Woolacombe, Putsborough, Baggy Point, Saunton Down, Westward Ho!, Clovelly, Windbury Head, West Titchberry and Lundy."
In addition, Mr Crowther said the changes would not reduce the hazard to harbour porpoises and other protected species which inhabit the area and would be threatened by the building programme.
Craig Harwood, project manager for the Atlantic Array, said that important refinements had been made following detailed analysis of the consultation held with local communities and statutory consultees last year.
He said the reduction in size and scale of the project would reduce the maximum capacity of the wind farm from 1,500 megawatts to 1,200 megawatts, which on average could supply 900,000 households per year with energy.
"The revisions to the proposed Atlantic Array wind farm are being made following the completion of additional studies and focus on the site boundary closest to Lundy and North Devon," said Mr Harwood.
"They build on the changes we made in 2012 to minimise environmental effects. Combined, these refinements deliver the most appropriate offshore wind farm scheme for the area from both a technical and environmental perspective.
"Atlantic Array remains a significant infrastructure project capable of making a large contribution to the UK's energy needs."
Mr Harwood said the array had already been good for business in the South West with 11.5% of contracts placed so far with Devon firms and almost as much again with companies in the region.