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Navitus Bay Offshore Wind Park proposals

Information on the wind park proposal and Dorset County Council's role.

Update on Progress of the Proposal - 19 January 2015

On 8 May 2014, the Planning Inspectorate accepted for examination an application from Navitus Bay Development Ltd (NBDL) to develop the Navitus Bay Wind Park.

The wind park proposal is defined as a 'Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project' under the terms of the Planning Act 2008. This means that the application (known as a Development Consent Order) will be managed by the National Infrastructure Directorate of the Planning Inspectorate and decided by the Secretary of State. The process is explained on the National Infrastructure Planning website (opens in a new window).

On 25 June 2014, Ava Wood Dip Arch MRTPI was appointed by the Secretary of State as the lead member of a panel of examining inspectors who are the Examining Authority (ExA) for the Development Consent Order application.

The examination opened on 11 September 2014 and will close on the 11 March 2015. Key dates are shown below.

Soon after the start of the Examination, on 22 September 2014, the ExA issued its First Written Questions. One question was directed specifically at the Applicant which asked if it would be possible that during the Examination the Applicant might offer to reduce the number of turbines below the current range and/or remove those closest to terrestrial viewpoints. On 5 November 2014 the Applicant published a document entitled Response to Deadline III - Appendix 43 - which, while maintaining its original position and reasserting its view that the significant benefits of the Project will outweigh the identified adverse impacts, stated that:

"In the event that the Secretary of State decides that the proposal does not strike the right balance between benefits and impacts, the Applicant believes that it may assist the Secretary of State to at least have available the option to reduce the number of turbines, removing those closest to terrestrial viewpoints".

The Applicant has published accompanying documentation outlining what it has termed the Turbine Area Mitigation Option (TAMO):

Response to Rule 17 Request for Further Information relating to the Mitigation Option 11 December 2014 (opens in a new window)

Written Response to Deadline IV (Part 1) 17 November 2014 (opens in a new window)

Following a call from the ExA for all interested parties to comment on whether the TAMO amounts to a material change of such a degree that it constitutes a new project, on the 13 January 2015 the ExA published a procedural decision (opens in a new window) stating that in its view the TAMO does amount to a material change, but not to the point that it constitutes a new application. As such the TAMO will be included in the Examination as part of the application received by the Planning Inspectorate on 10 April 2014.

Role of Dorset County Council

Dorset County Council is a statutory consultee and registered interested party in the process. The county council is playing an active role in the examination and in influencing the decisions of the ExA. In addition to the submission of written evidence, council officers are attending issue-specific hearings to present evidence (see below).

Dorset County Council's Position

Dorset County Council has expressed its opposition to a wind farm development within the application site for the reasons set out in its Relevant Representation, Local Impact Report and other material submitted to the Examination. With regard to the Turbine Area Mitigation Option, the county council recognises that while the option appears to have less adverse impact offshore (including offshore views from onshore), the high sensitivity of the coastal landscapes and seascapes to a development of this size and scale is such that it does not reduce such impact to a level which would overcome the substantive concerns of Dorset County Council. Furthermore, the onshore impacts would remain substantially the same as the original application.

The main submissions from the council are as follows:

Timescale

The timetable for determining the application is as follows, including some key dates within the examination itself. Deadlines are set by the ExA for receipt of submissions. The discussions at issue-specific hearings, on which the county council has or intends to present evidence, are mentioned but a full timetable and all the matters for discussion at the hearings (opens in a new window) are also available.

Date

Issue

 

Timescale for Navitus Bay Development Consent Order

11 September 2014

Preliminary Meeting (Examination opens)

6 October 2014

Deadline 1: Various submissions, including of Local Impact Reports (LIRs)

20 October 2014

Deadline 2: Various submissions, including responses to ExA's First Written Questions

5 November 2014

Deadline 3: Various submissions, including comments on responses to ExA's First Written Questions

18 November 2014

Issue specific hearings

19 November 2014

Issue specific hearings. Dorset CC presented evidence on Biodiversity, Biological Environment and Ecology

20 November 2014

Issue specific hearings

25 November 2014

Issue specific hearings. Dorset CC presented evidence on Offshore and Onshore Seascape, Landscape and Visual Impacts; Onshore Heritage Assets

26 November 2014

Issue specific hearings. Dorset CC presented evidence on the World Heritage Site; Socio-economics, Tourism and Recreation.

27 November 2014Issue specific hearings. Dorset CC presented evidence on the Development Consent Order (DCO)
3 and 4 December 2014Accompanied site visits by the Panel
11 December 2014Deadline 4: Various submissions
7 January 2015Deadline 5: Various submissions, including written submissions on admissibility of Turbine Area Mitigation Option (TAMO)
21 January 2015Issue specific hearings. Dorset CC will present evidence on the DCO
22 January 2015Issue specific hearings. Dorset CC will present evidence on Compulsory Acquisition and on the TAMO
29 January 2015Deadline 6: Various submissions, including responses to ExA's Second Written Questions
5 February 2015Deadline 6 (a): Receipt of additional representations on the TAMO
20 February 2015Publication by ExA of Report on the Implications for European Sites (RIES); revised draft DCO; and any further requests for information.
5 March 2015Deadline 7: Various submissions including comments on revised draft DCO; ExA's second written questions; RIES; and additional representations on the merits of the TAMO
11 March 2015Deadline for close of the Examination
May 2015ExA expected to submit recommendations to the Secretary of State
August 2015Secretary of State expected to give a decision on the Development
September/October 2015Opportunity for legal challenge
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