Giant wind turbines will no longer be brought to the island through a beach on the Isle of Man.

That’s if plans for a huge £36m onshore windfarm in the south, the first of its kind in the island, go ahead.

In October last year, a patch of land classed as the Earystane and Scard site was picked as the preferred location for the new development by Manx Utilities.

As part of the scheme, parts that make up the mammoth wind turbines were due to arrive on the Isle of Man on barges at Castletown Beach.

However, that plan has now been scrapped following in-depth studies by transport specialists.

The parts will instead be shipped to Douglas harbour after experts chose the capital as its ‘preferred landing location.’

But the move could result in traffic delays, disruptions and diversions for drivers as the turbines will now have to travel more than double the distance by road.

Confirming the news, a spokesperson from the Manx Utilities Authority said: ‘Should the development proceed, it is currently expected that the turbines would be delivered at Victoria Pier and transferred through Douglas via Lord Street and Peel Road using a specialised vehicle.

‘The vehicle would then follow the Castletown Road from Quarterbridge, continuing south to Ballasalla.

‘The wind turbines would be brought around Ballasalla, using the new bypass, re-joining the A5 at Balthane roundabout.

‘From the Airport, the turbines would be transported along the A5, through the outskirts of Castletown and along Shore Road on to Castletown Road, turning right at the roundabout onto the A29 and passing Rushen Primary School.

Proposed transport route for the turbines
Proposed new transport route for the turbines if the scheme goes ahead (Manx Utilities )

‘The turbines would then be brought straight across the roundabout, joining the A36 at Ballakillowey for delivery to Earystane from the Sloc.’

The Earystane and Scard site is currently at the ‘Environmental Impact Assessment and Design’ stage of the planning process.

Thar assessment is expected to be finished by 2025 ahead of a planning application for the scheme being submitted.

The southern site was picked over a similar patch of land, named Sulby and Druidale in the north, to play host to the island’s first onshore windfarm.

However, Manx Utilities has previously said that wind turbines could be installed on this site in the distant future.

Any surveys which supported bringing the turbine parts by barge to Castletown have now been removed from the Environmental Impact Assessment for the southern site, Manx Utilities has confirmed.

The energy firm says it also plans to engage with both members of local authorities and residents about the new proposed turbine transport route during the summer.

Details of the new scheme were revealed during a public meeting on Monday, April 22, led by the chair of Manx Utilities John Wannenburgh.

During the session, Lizzie Riley, energy transition lead and transition programme manager, gave a presentation on the island’s energy conservation and future energy demand. Questions were also raised about the performance criteria of wind turbines.

A spokesperson from Manx political party Liberal Vannin, who attended the public meeting, said: ‘Perhaps the most pertinent question raised was whether Manx Utilities could guarantee that the proposed wind farm would be delivered on time and within budget.

‘The answer was that it is scheduled to do so, and Liberal Vannin hopes that this remains the case.

‘Since the meeting, a subsequent question has been tabled to Manx Utilities, asking why the budget for the wind farm project is set at £36 million, when this was the figure originally announced as being required if a landing stage was to be constructed at Castletown.

‘Manx Utilities confirmed at the meeting that this was no longer required and parts for the wind farm will be brought ashore in Douglas and transported to Earystane from there.

An update is awaited from Lizzie Riley on the new budget figure.

‘Liberal Vannin is grateful to John Wannenburgh, and the team from Manx Utilities who attended, for taking the time to attend this information sharing exercise.’