THE Government has rejected plans for a wind farm off the Dorset coast, it has been announced.

After years of controversy, the Department for Energy and Climate Change today said that it would not let the Navitus Bay proposals go ahead.

The scheme, which has been vigorously fought against by councils, MPs and campaign groups, would have seen up to 121 turbines sited 13 miles from Bournemouth and Poole and nine miles from Swanage.

The Planning Inspectorate’s Chief Executive, Simon Ridley, said: “Alongside national policy and evidence of the need for the project, the views and comments from communities, particularly those near the South East coast of England who might be affected by this proposal, greatly assisted the Examining Authority in considering the overall impacts of the project.”

The decision made by the Department for Energy and Climate Change was in line with a recommendation to refuse by the Planning Inspectorate.

That recommendation was made in June, but has also been made public for the first time today.

“This is great news for the people of South Dorset,” said MP Richard Drax, “and I am delighted that Lord Bourne has taken the recommendation of the Planning Inspectorate in deciding to withhold planning consent for this proposal.”

“Navitus Bay was always too big, too close and threatened the very existence of England’s only natural, UNESCO World Heritage Site.”

“Yes, we need renewable energy sources for the future and already, offshore wind generation forms a significant part of that, but to attempt to site it here, near some of the most highly designated coastline in England, would have been wilfully destructive.”

“Apart from the UNESCO WHS, we have the New Forest national park, two areas of outstanding natural beauty, and two heritage coasts. A more sensitive site is hard to imagine.”

“Ultimately, I believe the threat to our Jurassic Coast, combined with damning research from Bournemouth Borough Council, which showed the wind farm could cost the area 5,000 jobs and £6.3 billion in tourism revenue, swung the balance.”

“I would like to congratulate the many anti Navitus campaigners, including my fellow Dorset MPs, on winning a significant victory. The opposition was vigorous and notable for the number of letters written and petitions signed.”

“In particular, I would like to congratulate Dr Andrew Langley and members of the Challenge Navitus campaign on their hard fought battle.”

“I am delighted to note that, as the original United Nations inscription intended, this victory will preserve our beautiful coastline for countless generations of residents and visitors to come.”

Roy Pointer, chairman of anti-Navitus Poole and Christchurch Bays Association, which represents 50 residents’ groups, said: “We welcome the decision to refuse consent for Navitus Bay offshore wind farm and feel that common sense has prevailed.

“We are delighted that this beautiful coastline, which provides such a great deal of pleasure to visitors and is so vital to our tourism industry, has been protected from industrial threat. Great credit is due to our MPs, councils, businesses and many volunteers who worked so hard to deliver this result, which will be welcomed by the overwhelming majority of our residents.”

Cllr Simon Bull, who represents Winton East for the Green Party on Bournemouth Borough Council, said: “The South East Dorset Green Party is deeply disappointed by the Energy Secretary’s decision to reject Navitus Bay. How long can we go on sticking our heads in the sand and pretend that global warming is not happening?

“Today’s announcement means our reliance on fossil fuels will continue. Furthermore, with the Oil and Gas Authority’s recent announcement on drilling licences, which included 8 sites within Purbeck, this could even mean fracking, a method of extracting fuel which will truly desecrate our coastline.

“Since the election the government seems to have attacked every sector of the renewable energy industry first onshore wind farms then solar and finally offshore wind farms.

“In light of this announcement we feel it is even more important that MPs that have stood against it make it clear where they stand in relation to extending drilling sites across the region.

“The Green Party, nationally and locally, must now be assertive and say that Westminster, national planners, and the local councils here in Dorset must all get together and offer realistic and prompt alternatives, to the cancelled Navitus project, that will produce the same amount of renewables power generation for Dorset.

“We're all living in a time where technology is racing ahead, the UK government needs to come up with modern initiatives and enlightened 21st century programmes such as universal insulation for homes offices, schools, etc, better standards in new-build houses, progressive ideas like PassivHaus, local community-owned schemes, etc.

“The challenge is accept Navitus or provide a viable alternative.”

More follows.