THE giant windfarm proposed to be built off the Dorset coast has passed its first planning hurdle.

The Planning Inspectorate (PINS) has today confirmed that Navitus Bay Development Limited’s formal application for development consent has been accepted and will progress to the pre-examination stage, whereby members of the public will be able to register as an interested party in order to provide comments on the application and be kept informed of the progress of the examination.

The acceptance decision means that PINS, on behalf of the Secretary of State, has accepted the application to proceed to the next phase of the National Infrastructure planning process. This is based on a number of legal criteria, including the adequacy of consultation undertaken by Navitus Bay when considered against the statutory tests.

The registration period for interested parties commences next week and will run for a minimum of 28 days. Further details for how to register will be posted on the PINs website next week.

Mike Unsworth, Project Director for Navitus Bay, said: “We are delighted that our Development Consent Application has been accepted for examination and it is testament to the vast amount of work undertaken by the project team and independent experts to deliver the 18,000 page application.

“While PINS examines our application we will continue to work with stakeholders, businesses and residents in Dorset, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight whenever we can, to make sure that everyone is kept up-to-date about the project and the considerable benefits that it would bring, in terms of sustainable energy generation, job creation and economic opportunities”.