Navitus Bay offshore wind farm: Surfers join debate

Offshore wind farm The wind farm would be located off the Dorset and Hampshire Coast

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Surfers in Dorset and on the Isle of Wight are meeting with developers who hope to create a giant wind farm off the Dorset and Hampshire coast.

The chief executive of Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) said the charity was not interested in the aesthetic impact of the Navitus Bay wind farm.

The group wants to discuss how the farm could affect surfing conditions.

It hopes to mitigate any possible negative effects from the turbines ahead of construction.

If the Navitus Bay wind park goes ahead, it will be located off the Dorset and Hampshire coasts, 12.2 miles (19.6km) from Bournemouth.

It could number up to 218 turbines covering 67.5 sq miles (175 sq km) of seabed.

'Affect swell'

The developers claim it will provide enough renewable energy to power up to 790,000 homes.

Hugo Tagholm, chief executive of SAS, said: "Wind turbines are solid structures, we could be talking about hundreds of them anchored to the sea bed, and that can affect the swell."

The developers of the wind farm have undertaken independent studies into the impact of wind turbines on Bournemouth and the Isle of Wight's surfing beaches and waves as part of its Environmental Impact Assessment.

Navitus Bay have agreed to provide advance sight of the results of the independent surfing study to SAS in the Isle of Wight and Bournemouth.

Surfers will be given the chance to review the data and give input into possible mitigation measures.

SAS has previously campaigned for changes to the design of Rampion offshore wind farm near Brighton.

The local surfing community persuaded the developers to use fewer, larger wind turbines, which meant the maximum impact of the wind farm on waves was a 3% reduction in height rather than a 22% reduction.

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