National Trust raises concerns over Atlantic Array proposal

The beautiful, wild seascape of Lundy Island

The National Trust has again raised concerns over Atlantic Array, the proposed wind farm off the North Devon coast. We’ve submitted our response to the consultation this summer on the environmental impacts of Atlantic Array, and will be objecting to the proposals when they come forward to the Planning Inspectorate for decision later in the year.

The National Trust supports all the principal forms of renewable energy, providing they are of an appropriate scale and design for their setting, and produce a net environmental benefit. We are demonstrating how this is possible on our own sites, with over 130 renewable schemes already in place and a commitment by 2020 to be producing 50% of our direct energy use from non-fossil sources.

Renewable energy proposals which have a high environmental impact, such as Atlantic Array, present a particular dilemma. The local impact on landscape, setting and habitats have to be balanced against the longer term benefit of avoiding damaging climate change. It is now clear that in the case of Atlantic Array, the impacts are so severe that we must object to the whole proposal. Squeezed as it is, between two sensitive coastlines, we do not believe it is possible to locate a viable large scale windfarm within this zone without the damage substantially outweighing the benefits.

We believe that offshore wind should make an important contribution to the country’s renewable energy targets. We have not objected to a number of offshore wind development proposals within sight of the coastline protected by the Trust – for example at Liverpool Bay visible from Formby and at Great Gabbard visible from Orfordness, Suffolk. But we cannot support proposals that would seriously damage the beauty of our coastline, and believe that the locations chosen for Round 3 offshore wind developments have not taken sufficient account of environmental factors, and in particular the sensitivity and designations of nearby coast.

If you wish to find out more about the Atlantic Array, then more information is available on the following websites/resources:

National Trust’s position statement

National Trust response to the Environment Impact Assessment

North Devon AONB position statement

RWE, the energy company developing the Atlantic Array

Independent LUC report we commissioned on landscape/seascape and visual impacts

5 Comments

  1. John and Sally Phillips   •  

    We totally agree with the National Trust on this issue.

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  3. John Barton   •  

    Dear National Trust,
    Please stop objecting to wind farm developments. I am dismayed that you have objected to the Atlantic Array. We need every bit of low carbon electricity generation to stop climate change and meet the UK’s own commitment to cut greenhouse gas emissions. If climate change continues, then our landscape will change radically and irreversibly.
    Yours faithfully,
    John Barton

    • Claire   •     Author

      Dear John

      Thanks for your post. We agree that we need more low carbon energy, and thought long and hard about our response to this particular proposal. In the case of Atlantic Array, we feel that the impact on the North Devon landscape is too high a price to pay. We need a process for identifying sites for offshore wind that takes into account landscape and seascape designations – the current process didn’t do that. Without this we risk damaging the beautiful landscapes we’re seeking to protect in our efforts to minimise climate change. It’s a difficult one though as the need for low carbon energy is so great, so thanks for your thoughts on this.

      Alex Raeder
      National Trust

  4. Sheila Jarvie   •  

    Dear National Trust,
    Please carry on the fight against the Atlantic Array Proposal. We have already destroyed part of the beauty of our countryside with the horrendous eyesore of the Fullabrook Array.
    It will make not one iota of difference to our energy needs, we will still need power stations, and we will still have large energy bills for years to come. The greed of landowners and energy companies is beyond belief.

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