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Coastal Wind Farms

Volume 406: debated on Thursday 5 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make a statement on (a) the development and (b) the benefits of coastal wind farms on the north-west coastline. [116611]

Under the first round of offshore wind farm site leasing in 2001, the Crown Estate granted leases for a number of sites off the north-west coast—Barrow, Shell Flat (three sites), Southport and Burbo Bank. The development at Barrow has been given consent and consent applications for the sites at Shell Flat and Burbo Bank have been submitted to the DTI.The Crown Estate will shortly invite applications for sites under a second round of leasing which will focus on the three strategic areas proposed in the Department's "Future Offshore" consultation paper (November 2002)—the Thames Estuary, the Greater Wash and the North West.The second round will be informed by a strategic environmental assessment of development in the strategic areas. A report has been prepared which considers possible negative impacts as well as benefits and is available on the Department's website at: offshore-wind-sea/process/envreport.htm coastal wind farms will make an important contribution to meeting the Government's 10 per cent. renewables target. They will also contribute to the security of national energy supply and provide employment opportunities both locally and nationally.