Public survey shows strong support for wind farm off Jersey's southwest coast

Could a wind farm like this one off the North Wales coast be a step closer to becoming reality in the Channel Islands? Credit: PA

Jersey residents support the idea of a wind farm off the island's southwest coast, results from a government survey have revealed.

More than 70% of around 1,000 people who shared their views responded positively when asked how they felt about the proposals at this early stage.

The wind farm has the potential to be the biggest infrastructure project ever undertaken in the Channel Islands but politicians appear divided on the next steps.

St Helier Deputy Max Andrews said: "The people who decided to respond to the consultation were mostly environmentalists, so of course they would be very much pro the wind farm.

"Those who were most sceptical, it's probably more to do with the cost. So I think if we were to take a different approach and ask people down King Street, for instance, most people would probably be saying, 'no, we do not want a wind farm'."

Meanwhile, Jersey's Environment Minister, Deputy Steve Luce, said: "I think it's really important that we can give a strong signal that we're in favour of moving forward and it's something we'd like to do.

"We are keen to investigate all the problems, challenges and benefits that could happen from a wind farm development."

Any development is expected to cost billions of pounds of private investment and take around a decade to build.

There are concerns over the wind farm being an eyesore and its impact on wildlife, but others believe it would bring energy security and boost the island's economy through opportunities to sell the electricity that is not needed on island.

A States debate is due to take place on the issue in April when politicians will vote on whether they want to go forward with creating proposals - it is not a final decision on whether to build the wind farm as other stakeholders such as Guernsey need to be consulted.

However, if a large majority vote yes then it will signal politicians are committed and investors will be more confident in exploring the opportunity.