Page last updated at 18:08 GMT, Wednesday, 4 June 2008 19:08 UK

Fishermen's fears over wind farm

Wind turbines in Liverpool Bay
Offshore wind farms have divided opinion in the South West

Plans for two offshore wind farms off the Devon and Cornwall coasts have received a mixed reaction.

Some will go up off north Cornwall, with more proposed for south Devon and Lyme Bay off Dorset where fishermen fear it will ruin their industry.

However one wildlife group has welcomed the idea.

The government wants to put up a total of 7,000 new turbines around the UK by 2020, trebling wind power to meet EU renewable energy targets.

Areas off north Cornwall and Lyme Bay were earmarked in a group of 11 sites around the British coastline.

They are seen as the most economically suited for their levels of wind, water depth and potential connection to the grid.

Map of proposed offshore wind farm sites

Jim Portus, of the South West Fisher Producers Association, said he feared that the fishing industry in south Devon would be ruined.

"Lyme Bay is virtually the entire fish production for south Devon," he said.

"It is a multi-million pound industry that happens to coincide with this area."

Energy Minister Malcolm Wicks said: "There is potential in Lyme Bay, but this is the first chapter and we shall look at the interests of fishermen before any decisions are made."

Consultations by the Crown Estates which owns the land should be concluded by the first half of 2009.

The development of offshore wind capacity is regarded by some as central to the delivery of the UK's share of the EU target for providing 20% of its energy requirements through renewable resources by 2020.

Paul Gompertz, director of Devon Wildlife Trust, which has been campaigning to protect a reef in Lyme Bay, said Crown Estates had already indicated that it would avoid the reef.

He said: "In principal we are supportive of any form of renewable energy.

"We are seeing a change in society's needs.

"The first is to protect the planet's life support systems- the really rich bits like the reef.

"The second has to be to get renewable energy wherever we can."

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