PLANS to build new off-shore windfarms off the Solway Coast have been revealed.

The Crown Estate has opened the formal tender process for companies wanting to build new windfarms to apply to use seabed areas it has released in the Irish Sea.

Workington MP Sue Hayman, who is also shadow environment secretary, said the areas of seabed released look to be located south of Robin Rigg.

She said: “I think off-shore wind provides far more renewable energy than on-shore.

“If we’re looking at investing in this type of off-shore energy, we need to check very carefully any plans submitted for this site and how it will impact the area.

“There could potentially be issues with fishing, there needs to be a full consultation on the

impact on any kind of business that uses sea and we need to look at ecology as well as visual impact.”

In a letter to Mrs Hayman, Huub den Rooijen, director of energy, minerals and infrastructure at the Crown Estate, said: “The UK now has 9GW in operation with forward visibility to almost 20GW of capacity by 2025, and strong continued growth expected through to 2030 and beyond as the country is decarbonising its energy supplies.”

The Crown Estate is now making at least 7GW of new seabed rights available, up to a possible maximum of 8.5GW, in areas comprising the North Wales region, The Irish Sea region, and the northern part of the Anglesey region.

Jim Walker, chairman of Cumbria Tourism, said: “We recognise the importance of green energy and the wider benefits to the local and national economy.

“At the same time, we would want to see the details of any specific proposals for offshore windfarms before making a fuller judgment on the potential impact.”

A pre-qualification questionnaire stage is underway, and it is expected that the tender process will run through to autumn 2020, with seabed rights awarded in 2021.

Mr den Rooijen said: “The Crown Estate has been actively engaging with industry and stakeholders, to seek views on the scale, location and nature of new leasing.

“This has included working closely with Government and statutory stakeholders including BEIS, Defra, Welsh Government, Marine Management Organisation (MMO), Natural England and Natural Resources Wales.

“Throughout, we have been committed to designing a process that offers an attractive, accessible and fair proposition to developers; balancing the range of interests in the marine environment; making efficient use of the seabed.”