Campaigners battling plans for a huge wind farm off the Hampshire coast have vowed to fight on – despite another reduction in the overall size of the scheme.
Advances in technology have enabled the applicant, Navitus Bay Development Ltd (NBDL), to cut the number of turbines from 194 to 121.
But the latest turbines being developed are seven metres taller than their predecessors.
Last night the Challenge Navitus action group pledged to maintain its opposition to the £3.5 billion wind farm, which will be just 12 miles from Milton on Sea if the scheme is approved by the Government.
Challenge Navitus spokesman David Lloyd said: “It’s a bad plan in the wrong place.
“We’re talking about a world heritage site that’s on an internationally important bird migration route as well as being one of the busiest sailing areas in the whole of the UK.
“The site is also surrounded by cliffs, which means the visual impact will be greater than would normally be the case.”
NBDL originally put forward proposals to build 333 turbines but the figure was later reduced twice after widespread opposition to the scheme. It also agreed to move the site further south.
The latest cut in the number of turbines was revealed yesterday.
NBDL announced that the turbines and the 80m blades would by supplied by MHI Vestas Offshore Wind, with the blades being built at the company’s Isle of Wight factory in a move that would safeguard 200 jobs.
A NBDL spokesman said: “MHI Vestas will supply its latest V164-8MW wind turbine.
“The efficiency and power of these turbines means that fewer are required than would have been the case with other, less powerful turbines.
“The maximum number of turbines would therefore fall from 194 to 121.”
The number of turbines involved in a smaller scheme that has also been put forward by NBDL would drop from 105 to 78.
Project director Mike Unsworth said: “We are determined to maximise the economic benefits of the project across the south coast so it’s fantastic news that the turbine blades will be manufactured on the Isle of Wight.
“Navitus Bay would represent a substantial addition to the MHI Vestas order book.
“This would help safeguard the 200 jobs being created to supply offshore wind projects in the UK. Having suppliers close to the proposed site will also cut down on transport and builds local expertise which will benefit the project and the region.”
Asked about the taller turbines he said the extra height would be “almost imperceptible” to anyone standing on a beach 20 kilometres away.
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