'Significant' fears over Atlantic Array wind farm

Installation of wind turbines
Image caption The planning process will take more than a year before a decision is made on installation of the turbines

Serious concerns have been raised in a report about a huge wind farm off the north Devon coast.

A county council report says the project would have negative impacts on the landscape and might not have any economic benefits for north Devon.

It would be among the UK's biggest wind farms, with up to 240 turbines, if the plans are accepted by the government.

RWE Npower Renewables, the firm behind the plans, said it had worked to reduce the visual impact of the turbines.

The report by Dave Black, head of planning, said the proposals would have "significant adverse impacts on locally and nationally important landscapes in northern Devon".

Image caption The proposed site of the wind farm is shown in red

'Landscape impacts'

It adds: "In the absence of a commitment from the developer to locate operational and maintenance facilities in northern Devon, there is no economic benefit to the local economy of northern Devon."

RWE Npower Renewables said the Atlantic Array remained a significant project capable of making a large contribution to the UK's energy needs.

"We have carried out thorough consultation and feedback received has fed into the design of the wind farm application," the company said in a statement.

The plans will be considered by the Planning Inspectorate, which is responsible for deciding large-scale infrastructure projects.

The Inspectorate is taking comments on the plans until 16 September and then it has six months to carry out an examination.

Three months later it must report to the government, which has three months to make a decision.

After that, there is a six-week window to challenge the decision in the High Court.

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