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Navitus Bay wind farm plans 'may be scaled back again'

The wind farm would be located between Dorset and the Isle of Wight

The wind farm would be located between Dorset and the Isle of Wight

Published on the BBC News website on the 18th September 2013

 

A proposed £3.5bn wind farm off the south coast could be scaled back for a second time, says the project manager.

Navitus Bay currently plans to build up to 218 turbines off Dorset, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

Changes to the plans, including a reduction in the number of turbines, were made in December.

Project manager Mike Unsworth said further changes depend on the outcome of a final public consultation and a consultation with Natural England.

‘Wholly inappropriate’

The maximum number of turbines was reduced from 333 to 218 in December, following public consultation.

Other changes included a reduction to the maximum height of the turbines from 210m (690ft) to 200m (655ft).

Mr Unsworth said the height and number of turbines could be reduced further, and added they may also be moved further away from the Dorset, Hampshire and Isle of Wight coastlines.

Andrew Langley, of campaign group Challenge Navitus, said the group’s position on the current proposals remained unchanged.

“Our view is it is too large and in a wholly inappropriate location,” he said.

He added he was concerned about the proximity of the wind farm to two Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) in Dorset and on the Isle of Wight, as well as the New Forest National Park in Hampshire.

Environmental impact

A planning application is expected to be submitted in March next year.

Mr Unsworth said a number of issues still needed to be addressed regarding the possible impact on fish, marine mammals and migratory birds, as well as the visual impact.

A public consultation and separate discussions with Natural England are due to end on 11 October.

Mr Unsworth said the project would bring about 2,000 jobs to the region during construction, and 200 long-term jobs in operations and maintenance.

He added an independent report by BVG Associates had identified an economic benefit of the scheme to the region of £1.85bn.

Developers claim the wind farm will provide enough renewable energy to power up to 790,000 homes.

If approved, construction is expected to start in July 2015.

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