Friday, September 6, 2013
A steady trickle of people go along to Planning Inspectorate registration events at Bideford and Ilfracombe.
VERY few people appear to have turned out for Atlantic Array events in Bideford and Ilfracombe this week.
Despite the huge passions apparently raised by controversial proposals for the 240 turbine offshore wind farm, Planning Inspectorate staff were hardly rushed off their feet during the two registration events on Wednesday and (yesterday) Thursday.
By 6.30pm yesterday, a member of the team at Ilfracombe told the North Devon Gazette they estimated some 80 people had thus far attended the events on both days. The team was heading to Swansea today (Friday).
At that point, only four or five people had turned up to view a presentation on the scheme.
All of those with an opinion had to register an interest with the Planning Inspectorate by Monday, September 16, or they would be unable to have their say on the application as it moves through the process.
The final decision on the scheme will be taken by the secretary of state and it is expected to be at least a year before that happens.
The proposed development from RWE Renewables for 700 foot high turbines some eight miles off the coast has seen a groundswell of opposition in recent weeks, with a demonstration through Barnstaple.
Slay the Array, Atlantic Disarray and Save Our Marine Mammals are some of the campaign groups to spring up in the wake of the application.
But others are in favour, such as the local Green Party and those who believe the wind farm will give a huge economic boost to the region.
The Planning Inspectorate will hold a preliminary meeting in a about a month, before inspectors are appointed to consider the proposal.
The Gazette was told for such a large application it is likely a panel of three or five inspectors will be appointed.
That is expected to last around six month, followed by a three month recommendation period while inspectors write their report and it is submitted to the secretary of state, whose decision is anticipated to take another three months or so.
* Register your interest in the application by going to http://infrastructure.planningportal.gov.uk/projects/south-west/atlantic-array-wind-farm/