PLANS to more than double the size of a windfarm just off the coast of Wirral are expected to be backed by the local authority.
DONG Energy have been seeking opinions on their proposal to increase the Burbo Bank windfarm 7km off the coast of Hoylake.
This would see up to 75 turbines sited off the north Wirral coastline – there are currently 30 turbines – over an area of up to 40km square with a maximum ‘tip height’ of 235m for each turbine.
The expansion of the windfarm has been slammed by Hoylake and Meols councillor John Hale who said the windfarm is a “visual blot” and added: “The money would be better invested in other forms of energy generation.”
The plans are currently at the ‘pre-application’ stage and DONG Energy have been seeking the views of local communities.
Although Burbo Bank lies within English waters in Liverpool Bay, the electricity generated is taken by cable to Wales where it is connected to the national distribution network.
A report to Wirral Council’s planning committee considers the impact of the plans on the local ecology, views, noise and navigation for shipping.
In his report Kevin Adderley, Wirral’s director of regeneration, housing and planning, recommends the scheme be supported “in principle at this stage”.
However he said the council “should highlight the areas of visual impact, noise, recreational navigation, socio-economics and ecology as key areas of importance”.
The scheme could provide electricity for up to 170,000 homes, according to DONG Energy, who will need to seek approval from the National Infrastructure Directorate as the scheme is considered to be a “Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project”.
Cllr Hale said: “I can only give you a personal opinion because I have never conducted a poll on this but I think the expansion is far too much when you consider the subsidies involved in these scheme, the visual aspects.
“While we may need some sort of renewable energy, this is not something I support at all.
“I think the money is better invested in other types of energy which does not give rise to these very questionable visual impacts.
“People come to Hoylake to look out to sea, to the horizon, and they see these windfarms, which as far as I can tell don’t seem to be working a lot of the time anyway.”
Wirral Council’s planning committee is due to meet at Wallasey town hall next Thursday, June 28, to consider the authority’s response to DONG Energy’s plans.