The massive Navitus Bay Wind Farm off the South Coast is clearly a step too close for many in the South. Some 194 turbines to be built by Electricité de France and Enercon of the Netherlands is to be built in one of the most congested recreational sailing areas of Europe, covering a staggering 59 square miles. In plain sight of the Needles and from the Isle of Wight, it has generated such comments as they should all be built up North. Recent campaigners have stated that the developers have lied. Tell us about it! Mike Unsworth, Navitus Bay project director, said that its visualisations were “in strict accordance with the recognised industry standards” . And the important words are “recognised industry standards”. The recognised Wind Industry Standards in Scotland for years misquoted the SNH figures of ‘more than 50mm lens’ as 50mm lens. That standard was inaccurate at best and not a peer reviewed judgement. Stirling University has concluded that 75mm is nearest to human perception although I might challenge that as 80mm. Stirling also failed to identify that a 75mm lens on a standard digital camera, due to the size of the receptor chip, will produce a 50mm image. There are various independent studies, such as Alan MacDonald’s “The Visual Issue”, which confirms and quantifies the inaccuracies of “Recognised Industrial Standards” and identify robust and accurate standards for visual interpretation.
When wind farms of this size are built within major sailing areas it does highlight the visual intrusion and practical limitations to such developments. As yet again it is foreign carpetbaggers that intend to rape and pillage UK waters we really have to consider the practicalities of such monstrous edifices. This is a heavily congested area of the sea and part of the Jurassic Coast, immensely important to southern tourism, and as iconic in view as the White Cliffs of Dover. As political expediency creates a direction away from onshore turbines, we should take care that out of sight, out of mind does not still saddle us with an expensive, intermittent and unreliable source of energy which impose on us financial costs that prevent development of a future proof sustainable demand lead energy mix. Therefore we must applaud those in the South that have concluded that Navitus Bay with it’s 194 by 580-656ft turbines, covering 59 square miles, is a ‘step too close’ to the Jurassic Coast.