Offshore wind farm 'will look taller than Isle of Wight'

Offshore wind farm
Image caption The tallest turbines could appear three times as high as the Isle of Wight

A wind farm off England's south coast could appear up to three times as high as the Isle of Wight, a report claims.

Navitus Bay will have up to 240 turbines just over eight miles off Peveril Point at Swanage, Dorset, and The Needles, in the Isle of Wight.

The research into their visual impact at different points on the coast was commissioned by BBC Radio Solent and conducted by Bournemouth University.

Eneco, which will install the turbines, has yet to decide how big they will be.

The tallest turbines that Eneco is allowed to use off the Hampshire, Dorset and Isle of Wight coast are 210m high (689ft).

'Size of Glasgow'

The report found that if someone viewed the tallest turbines from Swanage, they would appear three times as high as the highest point on the western tip of the Isle of Wight, Tennyson Down, which is just under 150m high.

This is because the turbines would be closer to shore.

In Bournemouth the turbines would appear twice as high as Tennyson Down and in Barton-on-Sea they would appear slightly taller than the western end of the island.

The university study also said the 76-sq-mile (200-sq-km) wind farm would cover an area the size of Glasgow.

Nigel Garland, senior lecturer in sustainable technology at Bournemouth University who worked on the research, said the calculations were based on a worst-case scenario - if the biggest possible turbines were used.

He said: "There are trade-offs in all these situations. If we are willing to continue using things like Xbox 360... with a great big plasma TV, that's an awful lot of electricity.

'Power 600,000 homes'

"If we want these things, we've got to generate the electricity somewhere."

The wind farm's licence was won by Eneco Wind UK. It will be built between 2016 and 2019 subject to planning permission.

Eneco Wind UK has said it will have a potential yield of about 900MW to power about 600,000 homes a year.

An Eneco spokesman said: "We do understand there are some concerns around the potential visual impact of the project and are working to reassure by providing further detail through accurate scale visualisations, which have been developed by independent experts.

"We will continue to consult with local communities and individuals throughout this process."

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