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Wind farm spanning area larger than Manchester could dwarf Isle of Wight

A huge wind farm is set to “dwarf” the Isle of Wight with turbines up to 650 feet high covering an area larger than Manchester, the United Nations has warned.

The proposed offshore wind farm would be just nine miles off Dorset’s Jurassic coastline and would consist of nearly 200 turbines.

The project has been condemned by the UN’s Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco), which warned the development could threaten the Jurassic Coast’s status as England’s only natural World Heritage Site.

Kishore Rao, director of Unesco, wrote to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), which manages the Jurassic Coast, spanning 95 miles along the Dorset and Devon coastline.

The Mail on Sunday reported the contents of the letter in which Mr Rao said Unesco considers the wind farm “will have a significant impact on the natural setting of the property [the Jurassic Coast], in that it would adversely impact on important views”.

He went on: “The project would replace the Isle of Wight as the dominant feature on the horizon.

“This is likely to significantly impact on visitors’ experience and appreciation of the property which could compromise the long-term sustainability of the management of the property.

“Any potential impacts on this natural property are in contradiction to the overarching principle of the World Heritage Convention… The property will change from being located in a natural setting largely free from human-made structures to one dominated by human-made structures.”

DCMS, however, insisted earlier this year that the Government-backed project would have little impact on the area.

Dr Andrew Langley, of opposition group Challenge Navitus, said: “The Navitus Bay wind farm would completely change the character of views from Durlston Castle near Swanage.

“The decision by the Crown Estate in 2009 to designate this zone so close to England’s only natural World Heritage Site, two areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and a national park, was extremely surprising.”

Mike Unsworth, project director at Navitus Bay, said: “We are aware of the letter from Unesco to the DCMS.

“We will be seeking further clarification as the interim comments are not aligned with the independent impact assessment or the conclusion of DCMS.”