England

Navitus Bay scaled-back plans 'will make little difference'

A map of showing the original proposed boundary in green, and the new proposed boundary in red
Image caption The wind farm will now be 1.8 miles further away from areas of Dorset

Campaigners have said plans to scale back a £3bn wind farm off the south coast will make "little difference to the damaging impact" it will have on the landscape.

Navitus Bay Development Ltd announced a "significant reduction" to its proposed wind park between Dorset and the Isle of Wight, after public consultation.

It said the wind farm would also be moved further out to sea.

Campaign group Challenge Navitus said it is not enough.

In a statement, the group said: "These changes are minor and will make very little difference to the damaging impact this development will have on our beautiful and unspoilt landscape, on our economy and in increasing risks to sailors and migrating birds.

"If they had been genuinely listening to the concerns of people, their amended plans would have conformed with government guidelines and located the wind farm at least 14 miles out to sea where its visual impact would have been significantly reduced."

The project boundary, which was originally set to be about eight miles (12.8km) off Peveril Point at Swanage and The Needles, will now be 1.8 miles (3km) further away from Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole.

'Significant benefits'

Other changes include a reduction in the maximum number of turbines, from 333 to 218, and to the total area of seabed which will be developed, from 76.4 sq miles (198 sq km) 67.5 sq miles (175 sq km).

Mike Unsworth, project director at Navitus Bay Development Ltd, said there had been a "genuine consultation".

"The project will create up to 1,000 local jobs during the four-year construction phase and 100 local permanent jobs for the 20-year operational life of the project," he said.

Exhibitions will be held in February next year across Dorset, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, when a 3D model of the wind farm will be on show to enable people to see how it will look from their homes or chosen location.

A planning application for Navitus Bay is likely to be submitted in 2014, Mr Unsworth added.

If approved, construction work could be completed by 2021.

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