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Irish Sea windfarm poses problem for Steam Packet

27th June, 2012

Plans by energy company Centrica for a new wind farm in the Irish Sea, between the Isle of Man and north-west England will cause problems on shipping routes between Douglas and the ports of Heysham and Liverpool and will also restrict the options for route changes in bad weather.

Isle of Man Steam Packet Company chairman Mark Woodward said proposals for wind farms in shipping routes would make it impossible to operate some services as well as increasing journey times by 15 minutes or more on routes used by conventional ferries such as the Ben My Chree.

Although the Isle of Man Government has no control over proposals outside its territorial waters it is drawing up a plan to ensure any wind farms built in Manx waters would not affect ferry routes.

Work on the Isle of Man Marine Plan is under way and the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture’s director of environment Martin Hall said it was important it was completed in a ‘timely manner’.

One of the plan’s objectives would be to identify current activities in Manx waters and safeguard their ongoing use. Mapping the location of navigation corridors, important natural areas and pipelines/cables will enable the island to identify potential wind farm sites that will not adversely affect current uses of the Manx marine environment, including ferry routes and fishing.

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