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Not in My Back Yard – Public Relations #4

“The Examination Authority completed its inspection of the Navitus Bay Wind Farm 18k page application at 12 midnight on 11 March 2015.  The Examination Authority panel reports to the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Amber Rudd, next week on 11 June 2015.  Her decision is expected to be announced on 11 September 2015 at the latest.  Whatever that decision; there will be a significant impact in Dorset.

For many years Laura McHarrie has worked with Business and Community Engagement Manager Ian Cambrook and has paid keen interest in the process to date.  With a speech entitled Navitus Bay – Not in My Back Yard please welcome Laura McHarrie”

Navitus Bay will generate electricity for 700,000 homes a year.  To put this into perspective, there are 350k homes in Dorset. NB will produce twice what Dorset needs.  Toastmasters … Wind power is a growing part of the sustainable energy supply.  A good mix is vital if the UK is to meet its 15% target by 2020. Whilst some may say let’s invest in wave or nuclear or more solar options – those proposals are not on this table.  This multibillion £ project is.


Click here for the slides Not in My Back Yard

Click here and play whilst you are reading The Sound of a Windfarm

There are 2 proposals, Navitus prefers the 194 turbines. The second (submitted in response to a Planning Inspectorate enquiry) is 40% smaller with 105 wind turbines supplying 240k fewer homes. The electricity goes into the national grid via 6 underground cables from Taddiford Gap to a substation near Ferndown.  None of this is without price!  The biggest concern is the perceived decimation of the World Heritage Site, the Jurassic Coast and our Tourist trade.  Let’s see:

This view is from Bournemouth where the Turbines are 13 miles away.  The reduced scheme is 17 miles.  It might affect Dorset’s tourism, but then again, it might not.  World Heritage, Natural England and Areas of Natural Beauty believe there will be an impact but not of any significant harm.

This view is from Sandbanks. These are also 13 miles away. You can hardly see them because (at my height) the horizon is about 3 miles. away.  Admittedly if I was looking out from my Sandbanks penthouse, the horizon is about 12 miles and I would see a lot more.

This is my favourite place in Dorset, Durlston Head. These are 8 miles away the closest point to land. Plan 2 puts them at 11 miles.  A Cornwall visitor survey determined 94% would return despite the myriad of much closer onshore wind-farms.

Oh and this is the same view at night – damn – I was thinking it would look like Portland Port when you drive over the top of Came Down

With worries about the view abated I thought I’d investigate the HUM.  I have sensitive hearing so wanted to know how turbulent these turbines are.  Fact is … you have been listening to a Wind Farm that’s a mile away, since I started this presentation.  It produces 30 decibels.  I bet you didn’t hear it over the 50 decibel drone of this projector? Our turbines, remember, are at least 8 miles away.

The project will create up to 140 full-time jobs over its life. 1700 jobs during peak construction and will add £1.62b to the local economy.

Vestas MHI is the confirmed turbine supplier.  The blades are manufactured on the IOW, potentially creating the first 200 jobs.

There are other high value supply chain opportunities for marine engineering especially for both Poole, Weymouth & Portland’s economies. There is also £26m of consideration payments for the local authorities … But money isn’t everything

Wind Farms cause minimal deaths compared to fossil fuels and nuclear plants. It is true the initial construction stage will cause considerable disturbance. But once the farms are operational it is minimal.  If birds and marine life can weave around the farms, then I’m sure, divers, anglers and sailors will rise to the same challenge.

The immediate economic benefit to Dorset is huge.  So I thought I’d finish with a look to the future. If greenhouse gasses are not abated then at its worst the British Isles might look like this.  Not that this is going to happen in our lifetime, but our grandchildren’s grandchildren might appreciate us giving Wind-Farming a go – if they still have a backyard.

… This project presents to a hostile audience.  Followed by Questions and Answers.  If you have questions please do post them here!

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