Opinion Former Article

Chamber of Shipping criticises decision to approve offshore wind farm site

The UK Shipping Industry is extremely disappointed that the Department for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform (BERR) has given consent to the development of the West of Duddon Sands Wind Farm site in Morecambe Bay without properly taking into account either the safety of seafarers and passengers or the environmental costs of forcing ships to detour around the site.

This wind farm will sit right across the normal shipping route from Heysham to Douglas (the life-line route to the Isle of Man) and the bad weather route to Northern Ireland for other ferry services.

While the consent requires the developer to negotiate compensation with shipping companies affected, it appears that the very real safety and shipping concerns have been overridden.

This may mean that in addition to the detrimental effect on shipping services, the environmental benefits of the wind farm will be negated by the extra fuel used (and thereby the CO2 emissions) by ships having to detour.

At this stage it is not possible to quantify the level of compensation that will be demanded, but ships will be diverted every day of the year whether or not the wind farm is operational.

Diverting ships around the site will also add to passage times, thereby adding additional crew duty time and reduced port turnaround times (which may also result in the loss of port slots and the consequent inability to move essential goods).

Most importantly, the proposed wind farm will present an additional hazard to ships navigating in the east Morecambe Bay area. It will seriously restrict ships' sea room particularly in bad weather and may lead to berths being blocked by ships unable to sail.

This will affect ships sailing both to the Isle of Man and to Northern Ireland - as a result of bad weather routes not being available - and could cause major disruption.

The Chamber believes that sufficient weight was not given to these concerns when the consent was determined.

ENDS

For further information please contact:
John Stevenson, Chamber of Shipping
020 7417 2833

Notes to Editor

· The Chamber of Shipping is the trade association for the UK shipping industry, working to promote and protect the interests of its members both nationally and internationally. With 140 members and associate members, the Chamber represents over 860 ships of about 23 million gross tonnes and is recognised as the voice of the UK shipping industry.

· For more information on British Shipping, please go to: http://www.british-shipping.org

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