Bournemouth councillor quits over Navitus wind farm

Navitus Bay area
Image caption The turbines would occupy an area of 153 km2 off the Dorset/Hampshire coast

A councillor who believes not enough is being done to oppose the Navitus Bay wind farm off the south coast has resigned from the Conservatives.

Westbourne and West Cliff Councillor, Barry Goldbart, said he had stepped down "in protest" at the scheme.

It would see 194 turbines installed on the seabed off Dorset, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

The former mayor of Bournemouth said: "This is incredibly serious, the wind farm will have a devastating effect."

His resignation comes after a government examination of the planning application to build the wind farm concluded on Wednesday.

A decision on the scheme is expected by the autumn.

In a letter to the prime minister, Mr Goldbart said: "I will urge my fellow Conservative councillors and members of parliament to join with me in this decision, if they feel as strongly on this issue as I do."

'Positive impact'

All local councils except the Isle of Wight Council are against the scheme which many feel will have a negative impact on the area's tourist industry.

Bournemouth Borough Council claims having the turbines would take £6.3bn out of the local economy and 4,923 jobs would be lost over the life of the project.

The developers behind the project believe the wind farm would have a "positive impact" on the local community.

Navitus Bay project director Mike Unsworth said: "Navitus Bay could add significant economic benefit to the region of up to £1.6 billion, and will create at least 1,700 jobs.

All nine of the offshore wind farm projects examined to date by the Planning Inspectorate have been given consent.

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