8 September 2015
11th September is the deadline for the UK Government to announce whether the proposed Navitus Bay offshore wind park project will go ahead. This renewable energy project has been under scrutiny by Energy and Climate Change Secretary Amber Rudd. The project is crucial to the future economic prosperity of the region and our city. It is expected to generate up to 1,700 highly skilled construction jobs during project construction phase, with many more different jobs to operate and maintain it, bolstering the existing Southampton marine industry.
Step back a couple of years: after the blanket ban on wind turbines sited on Hampshire County Council Land in January 2013, local Greens questioned overall Tory commitment to renewable energy projects and action against climate change.
Recently one of the key Tory opposition voices to the Navitus Bay project, Conor Burns, MP for Bournemouth West, is facing accusations from the Green Party that his lucrative part-time consultancy work for Trant Engineering Ltd has influenced his decision to oppose the Navitus Bay project.
Trant Engineering supplies and maintains Fawley refinery and Wytch Farm (Oil Field and Processing Facility), the largest onshore oil field in Western Europe. Conor Burns has dismissed the claims and counter-accused the Green Party of being ideologically led.
Meanwhile it has been speculated that the plans for 121 offshore wind tubines will be thrown out. The proposed site is off the Jurassic Coastline which has World Heritage Status.
Chris Bluemel,Green Party spokes person, has described the situation as ridiculous. He said, ‘The Navitus Bay Wind Park will benefit the whole of the region’s economy and have the extra bonus of helping to combat climate change; it cannot be allowed to end up buried in a deep hole, which may have been dug by the oil industry.’
‘Furthermore we cannot wait for the ideology of Conor Burns MP to hit the buffers before we tackle climate change.’
The Green Party hopes that a decision will be made based on rational argument and not on the bias of undue influence.