Speaker of the House of Keys Juan Watterson has voiced his concerns regarding the proposed Morecambe and Morgan offshore windfarms in the Irish Sea.
The windfarms are projected to generate almost two gigawatts of energy.
The Rushen MHK wrote to Morecambe Offshore Windfarm Ltd and Morgan, the companies behind the windfarms, laying out the issues he has with the new plans.
Mr Watterson said: ‘I am extremely concerned as to the lack of a safe shipping corridor to facilitate shipping from the Isle of Man to Liverpool and Heysham without a significant detour, which will have significant consequences for our island and the Irish Sea environment.
‘Notably, the increase in fossil fuel use for the diversion will be significant, journey times will be significantly increased with a consequent loss of viability of the sea route.’
This follows the news that the companies have started a consultation into the projects.
The consultation began two weeks ago and runs until December 13.
Mr Watterson said: ‘There is no doubt of the great need for the increased capacity for offshore wind in the Irish Sea, so generally I am supportive of the policy objectives.
‘However, this is of significant concern to our island and the links between us and Liverpool and Heysham.’
As we reported recently, the Steam Packet has also voiced its opinions of the projects and urged people to answer the Morecambe and Morgan consultation to ensure that they are ‘aware of the overall cumulative picture’ rather than ‘viewing projects in isolation’.
The company is worried that the new windfarms could cause the cancellation of more services.
It particularly has issues with the ‘cumulative effect the numerous Irish Sea wind farm projects could have on the viability of the lifeline routes serving our island.’
Mr Watterson agreed with this sentiment and wanted clarity from the developers in regards to the affect it will have on sea travel to and from the Isle of Man.
He asked: ‘Can you please provide reassurance that a safe shipping corridor through this windfarm will be available to the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company in order to prevent any disruption to this lifeline for our island?’
l To view the consultation and find out more information about the projects, visit the developments’ website morecambeandmorgan.com or call 0800 915 2493.