Concerns about Atlantic Array wind farm registered


Update: On 26 November 2013, it was announced that RWE has withdrawn the application for Atlantic Array on cost grounds and given up their rights to develop in the Bristol Channel. The information below was written prior to this announcement.

After several years of planning and consultation, the application for the Atlantic Array wind farm was accepted for examination by the Planning Inspectorate in July 2013 and the formal examination will take place in the next few months. The proposal is for up to 240 turbines and associated infrastructure to be built on a 200km2 site in the Bristol Channel. The chosen location is visible from parts of both Exmoor and Pembrokeshire Coast National Parks so we’re very concerned about the potential impacts and raised these during the pre-application consultation stage.

Although the applicant has tried to reduce the impacts by reducing the overall size of the array from 460km2 , the wind farm would still be visible from a number of key locations and parts of the coastal path in both National Parks, particularly on clear days when people are most likely to be visiting the coast. The development would also be visible at night as the turbines have to be illuminated during the hours of darkness, resulting in further intrusion on the dark skies and tranquillity of these areas.

We’ve registered our interest in participating in this examination as we’re very concerned about the significant adverse impacts on the two National Parks.  These areas are valued for their sense of peace and tranquillity, the wild, remote cliff top character and the seascape views. So we’re also concerned that the proposed development would have a detrimental impact on tourism and recreation in both National Parks, particularly if visitors are deterred from walking along the coastal paths as a result of the visual impact of the wind farm. Tourism and recreation-related activities provide significant amounts of employment in both National Parks and, therefore, make an important contribution to the local economies.

The development would also be visible from Lundy Island and a number of AONBs, so several other organisations, such as the National Trust are raising serious concerns too as have Exmoor and Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authorities. The next stage in the process is a preliminary meeting when the examining authority will decide which issues the examination should focus on and the timetable for the examination. Given the level of concern raised about the impacts on protected landscapes, we believe that this issue should be covered in some detail as part of the examination and we will be continuing to engage throughout the process.

You can find out more about the examination process here.