Offshore Wind Farms
There is widespread concern over the growing proliferation of wind turbines (wind farms) across the country – arguments over their visual impact and indeed their efficiency.
Of more concern to me and indeed to our shipping industry is the spread into offshore areas of these wind farms, impacting on long established coastal shipping routes including highly time sensitive ferry services. Recently the Isle of Man Steam Packet’s CEO, Mark Woodward voiced clear and detailed concern over planned wind farm construction in the Irish Sea.
His statement followed the formal announcement by Centrica of plans to develop wind farms, which will impede on the existing direct tracks on both the Steam Packet’s Heysham and Liverpool routes. Such construction will impact negatively on passage times, but will also greatly reduce the Master’s heavy weather routing options. Other operators on Liverpool/Heysham routes to Northern Ireland will also be affected.
It is perhaps time that the MCA developed a more pro-active and defensive attitude, when these wind farm plans are first mooted, to protect the interests and indeed safety of long established coastal shipping routes.
HAMISH ROSS, EDITOR