Offshore wind farm development would have ‘serious detrimental impact’ on coastline’s natural beauty, say AONB.

THE partnership responsible for overseeing the protection of the natural beauty of the North Devon coast set out its position on the Atlantic Array.

The North Devon Coast Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) has aired fears that the proposed development will have a ‘serious detrimental impact’ on the natural beauty of the coastline.

The partnership said its concerns were based upon the ‘industrial scale’ of the proposed development and its proximity to the coast.

In a position statement released in the same week when members of the public are being given the chance to view revised proposals for the RWE npower renewables scheme, the AONB said the development would ‘seriously undermine the tranquillity of some of the wildest coastline in England’.

It said: “The setting of the North Devon AONB is already compromised by landward turbine developments, most notably those at Fullabrook. If the Atlantic Array is built, the risk is that the coast will be surrounded by large, industrial turbines to all sides.

“While it is recognised that the Government has signed up to achieving a significant increase in the contribution that renewables make to the UK’s energy consumption, it must be borne in mind that wind is only one source of renewable energy.

“Recent sea trials have been undertaken to show that the massive tidal range in the Bristol Channel is able to sustain hydropower generation on the sea bed – a form of technology that is much less intrusive on the surrounding landscapes.”

The AONB said it intended to give consideration to, and comment upon, the environmental statement for the Atlantic Array when it is published, and to make representations through the Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project planning processes.

Chairman Rose Day said: “We intend to comment on the environmental statement for the proposed Array when it is published later this summer.

“In the meantime, we are concerned that the communities of North Devon are given sufficient opportunity and information to be able to judge for themselves the impact that the development would be likely to have upon the beauty and tranquillity of our protected coastal area.”