Lundy wind farm plans shelved

26 November 2013

Lundy, taken from the air, should now remain unspoilt for future generations

The Landmark Trust is delighted that developer RWE Innogy has decided to shelve its proposal for a giant wind farm just off the coast of Lundy in the Bristol Channel.

Following RWE’s announced withdrawal from the Atlantic Array, Derek Green, General Manager of the island said "It is fantastic news for tourism and wildlife in the Bristol Channel and in particular for Lundy. We were concerned that by bringing development so close to the island that it would overwhelm it, but now we hope that Lundy’s glorious isolation can remain unspoilt.”

Anna Keay, Director of the Landmark Trust, the charity which manages Lundy said “We hope that this announcement signals the end of the Atlantic Array plans. This was simply not the right place for such a development and we are delighted that the sense of remote wildness that has made Lundy a place of refuge for wildlife and visitors for centuries, if not millennia will remain unspoiled.”

The developer, RWE Innogy, had applied for planning permission for a wind-farm on an enormous scale, bigger in every respect than any currently standing in or around Britain. Up to 240 turbines were planned, more than in any existing UK wind-farm, with each turbine up to 220 metres high, taller than any in Europe, and 50% taller than Lundy itself. The wind-farm would have stood just 9 miles to the north of Lundy, closer to the island than to any other landmass, surrounding the north end of the island. Because of its proximity to Bristol airport, each of the turbines on the outer edge would have been topped with a red light that would have flashed day and night. 

The Landmark Trust and the Lundy Company opposed this scheme for a number of reasons:-

Lundy is a place defined by its remoteness. It has been treasured for its wild isolation for many centuries. This sense of isolation would have been lost with an industrial development of this scale and proximity.

Government guidance states that wind-farms should only be built within 12 miles of the British coast if that coast is not judged environmentally sensitive. The Atlantic Array would have been just 9 miles from Lundy which was the UK’s first Marine Nature Reserve, is a Special Area of Conservation, a Site of Special Scientific Interest, and a Heritage Coast. 

For the last 50 years the Landmark Trust, the National Trust and thousands of volunteers had worked painstakingly to protect and enhance Lundy’s natural and historic environment, including protecting many rare species of plant, bird and marine life and conserving its 41 scheduled ancient monuments. Much of this work would have been in vain if the Atlantic Array went ahead.

Lundy has been kept a timeless place with almost no visible modern infrastructure over many decades; despite the 20,000 visitors it receives every year it doesn’t have a single metalled road, pavement or street light.   

Lundy has no light pollution and when the power is switched off every night, visitors have an incredible experience of the night sky. The flashing red beacons on the Atlantic Array would have destroyed this experience.

Lundy is a fragile economic entity, even a small drop in visitor numbers could jeopardise its economic viability and the livelihoods of those who provide additional services for its visitors.

We hope with this decision that Lundy will now remain unspoilt for future generations.