The Atlantic Array Planning Application
The Coastwise committee agreed that, given our objectives and interests, it is appropriate to register as an Interested Party with the Planning Inspectorate for the forthcoming planning investigation.
We recognise that there is a range of opinion within the membership, but we believe that the wording of the representation below covers the views of a majortiy of the membership.
If members disagree with the wording they are clearly free to make their own submission to the Inspectorate.
From Coastwise North Devon - Representation
“Coastwise North Devon is a community group whose main aim is to champion the North Devon marine and coastal environment by promoting knowledge, understanding and enjoyment of its natural and cultural history.
We recognise the need for additional sources of energy generation and that, in order to reduce carbon emissions, renewables including off-shore wind may play a part. Our objections to the proposal are on the grounds that the site proposed is unsuitable because of its environmental importance. The development would result in significant damage to wildlife and be prejudicial to the economic and social interests of local communities.
1. Wildlife & Nature Conservation
We believe the impact upon marine mammals in the ES is understated. Members regularly watch and record good populations of seals and porpoise, as well as visiting dolphins, in Barnstaple Bay and along the coast. Strong mitigation measures are needed to prevent them being forced elsewhere during construction, probably not to return. Important fish species migrate through the Channel. If construction does go ahead, the impact on all mobile marine animals needs to be continuously monitored during construction and remedial action taken where necessary. Measures should include adjustments to the phasing of construction work, the use of animal-friendly turbines and infrastructure, equipment and construction procedures such as gravity -base structures to avoid years of piling noise, and the removal of the installed equipment at the end of life.
The ES acknowledges the impact upon designated water bird species, some of which have been the subject of extensive recent conservation work and now have populations of national and international significance. We regularly see Manx Shearwater in their hundreds feeding and resting off shore. Members report that other birds, many of conservation concern, also use the area, some migrating in large flocks north/south across the Channel. We will support mitigation measures recommended by the relevant NGOs, recognising that even so there will be many casualties.
Whatever the combination of numbers and size of turbine, the Array will have an overwhelmining visual impact on adjacent coasts for much of the year, and on perceptions of Lundy, a North Devon icon. Opportunities for mitigation are limited but those whose businesses suffer loss as a direct consequence, such as Lundy’s tourism, will need compensation. The horizon with its open sea dominated by Lundy in solitary state, will be lost. The seascape will change and no longer match the traditional expectations of holiday-makers and many who have chosen to live and remain here for the stunning views, with significant economic impact on the main local industry and housing market.
3. Piece-meal development of Bristol Channel
We ask for co-ordinated planning for an area of such environmental importance and energy potential as the Bristol Channel. Without it the cumulative effects on wildlife of serial developments and displacement opportunities are difficult to gauge. The Atlantic Array site is particularly sensitive in terms of landscape/seascape designations. There may well be better site options within the Channel or elsewhere in terms of impact and energy output.”