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Parliament debates Navitus Bay coastal wind farm

Proposals for a £3.5bn wind farm off the south coast are being discussed in Parliament later.

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

Robert Syms, Conservative MP for Poole, has secured a debate on the matter to be held at 16:30 GMT.

He says residents think it will be an eyesore and could increase bills for the poorest people. But developers say it will benefit residents and the area.

Project manager Mike Unsworth said: “We welcome the news that Robert Syms has secured a debate in Parliament about the proposed Navitus Bay Wind Park.

“We hope that it will be a balanced discussion, addressing both the economic and environmental benefits that the project will bring.”

Mr Unsworth said the company had always been “open and honest” about the plans and provided “comprehensive information about the project”.

Size reduced

The proposal has been criticised for its proximity to two Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the New Forest National Park.

Navitus Bay made changes to the plans, including reducing the number of turbines from 333 to 218, in December last year.

The maximum height of the turbines was also changed from 210m (690ft) to 200m (655ft).

Mr Unsworth has indicated that the wind farm could be scaled back again, depending on the outcome of a public consultation which ended last month and discussions with Natural England.

Campaign group Challenge Navitus has said the wind farm is “too large and in a wholly inappropriate location”.

The group is also concerned about its impact on marine life and coastal habitats, in addition to possible noise and light pollution.

Navitus Bay says the wind farm would create 2,000 jobs during construction and 200 long-term jobs in operations and maintenance.

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

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