A GIANT wind farm off the coast of Dorset could boost the economy by millions of pounds and create hundreds of jobs.
The financial benefits for Portland of the Navitus Bay are outlined in a new report.
The report is due to be discussed by members of the Planning and Traffic committee of Weymouth and Portland Borough Council today.
It highlights the potential benefits the Navitus Bay wind park could bring to the area, as well as discussing the importance of ensuring the environmental constraints have been properly considered.
The report states that project consultants predict none of the major component manufacturing would be likely to take place in Weymouth or Portland but states the borough could have the opportunity to secure the longer term operation, maintenance and servicing contracts.
The report states: “The opportunity clearly exists, however, for the ports of Weymouth and Portland to play a role in the installation, operations and maintenance phases of the project, with the addition of 20 to 210 long term jobs and £5million to £32million gross value added, though this would be gained only in competition with other ports.”
Recently Dorset County Council’s cabinet upheld the planning committee’s opposition to the application in its current form. The report states that the application has been accepted and a formal examination is now underway and sets out what could be the borough council’s initial response to the planning inspectorate.
The report states: “The potential for negative impact includes the significant change to the character of the Dorset coast as a result of the introduction of these man-made structures and the potential effects of this on people’s appreciation and enjoyment of the area.”
Weymouth and Portland will be unaffected by any visual impact of the scheme, the report adds.
It states: “While it is not considered that there is significant harm to the West Dorset or Weymouth and Portland areas, it is essential that the potential impacts of the Area of Outstanding natural Beauty and World Heritage Coast setting are very carefully considered as part of the examination process.”
• ‘Major opportunity for businesses’
GENERAL Manager of Portland Port Ian McQuade said that the port saw the potential development of the Navitus Bay Wind Park as a major opportunity not just for the port itself but for businesses throughout Dorset.
He said: “We are working closely with Navitus Bay Development Ltd to offer the facilities within the port for both the initial two to three year construction phase and the ongoing 25 to 30 year operations and maintenance base. This could potentially mean hundreds of jobs and millions of pounds of investment into Weymouth and Portland.”
He added: “With the opposition to the project from Dorset County Council and some of the other local councils there is a great opportunity for Weymouth and Portland Borough Council to take a positive lead in supporting the development of this important infrastructure project for the benefit of the local area and wider Dorset.”