A controversial wind farm which could see up to 121 turbines built off the Hampshire coast will be thrown out by ministers, it has been reported.
The Navitus Bay development would include the construction of 200-metre structures and critics argue it would damage the landscape and risk the status of the nearby UNESCO World Heritage Site Jurassic Coast.
A decision is expected this week on the project, which has been vigorously opposed by campaigners including a group called Challenge Navitus.
But it has now been reported that the plans will be thrown out due to fears the development would jeopardise the site’s UNESCO World Heritage Site status.
Developers behind the project say it could create up to 1,700 jobs and would use local companies wherever possible.
However, critics say the huge construction project would result in an extra 150 lorries a day travelling through the New Forest and warn that the installation of an onshore underground cable will create a 40m-wide scar across the countryside.
New Forest National Park Authority member Pat Wyeth admitted she would be pleased if the development was rejected.
She said: “Our concern is really from the amount of countryside that would have to be dug up to put cables and things in. We are not on the shoreline but we are pretty close. If it’s going to be thrown out I think that’s good news.
“I don’t think it’s been proven that they are necessary and certainly residents near the coastline will agree with me. A lot of residents are concerned about where it’s going to be dug up.”
The Navitus Bay project is a joint effort by energy companies EDF and Eneco, and comprises up to 121 turbines, up to 200 metres high. The Navitus Bay Development Company submitted a smaller proposal alongside its main application, but it was reported that this will be rejected as well.
If turned down, Navitus would be only the second major offshore wind proposal rejected in the UK. after the Docking Shoal wind farm, located off the Lincolnshire coastline, was rejected in 2012 over fears it would affect local birdlife.
Objections to the original scheme resulted in major changes to the design. The size of the wind park was reduced and it moved further away from the coastline.
But some of the turbines will be just 14.5 miles from Lymington and less than 12 miles from Milford on Sea.
The future of the project now rests with the Department of Energy and Climate Change, which is due to decide by Friday.
Navitus Bay Development Company was unavailable for comment.