Plans for an offshore wind farm off the Isle of Wight have been dropped — sounding the death knell for a project that would have benefited the Island's manufacturing and marine industries.
It was announced today (Monday) developers of Navitus Bay would not appeal against the government's refusal of the plans, which would have seen 121 wind turbines erected between the Isle of Wight and Dorset's Jurassic Coast.
Plans for a smaller 105-turbine farm were also rejected by the Department of Energy and Climate Change Secretary of State Lord Bourne, of Aberystwyth, last month.
Navitus Bay project director Stuart Grant said today: "After careful consideration, Navitus Bay has chosen not to challenge the decision by the Secretary of State to refuse consent for the proposed wind park.
"We would like to thank the communities on the south coast and all our stakeholders for their engagement throughout the project. We would also like to extend a thank you to the potential suppliers, who worked incredibly hard to inform our proposal."
The refusal was welcomed by campaigners, who said the development would have put the UNESCO World Heritage Site status of the Jurassic Coast at risk and damaged tourism.
It was met with dismay by Isle of Wight politicians and businesses, however, as the turbines were due to be built by MHI Vestas and South Boats was in the running to manufacture workboats. Yarmouth had been in the running as an onshore base for the project, which would have led to the creation of dozens of jobs, according to those behind the project.
The Isle of Wight Council and MP Andrew Turner had supported the project.
Mr Grant said the data collated by the Navitus Bay team would prove useful to others.
"Over the course of the project, we have gathered data from a wide range of offshore surveys and studies. This wealth of information includes environmental material, such as bird and mammal surveys, human-activity evaluations, including shipping, navigation and archaeological data, and physical environmental detail like geotechnical data and sediment sampling," he said.
"We recognise this marine data is valuable and can provide a legacy by helping to stimulate research, support academia and contribute towards the sustainable management of the seabed. We will therefore be making this data available via The Crown Estate’s Marine Data Exchange once transfer and quality assurance processes have been completed."
It will be made available at www.marinedataexchange.co.uk