PLANS to build a wind farm off the coast of Hampshire have been scaled back, it has been announced today.
Developers behind the scheme have revealed that the Navitus Bay project will be smaller in order to reduce its visual impact.
But critics of the scheme have described the changes as like “Re-arranging deck chairs on the Titanic.”
Navitus Bay Development Ltd said they will remove the northernmost part of the development - the 'top triangle' - which will move the site up to 3.8km further away from the shore.
Philip Dewhurst, Poole and Christchurch Bays Association spokesman, said: “Even with these tweaks, Navitus will still be too big, too visible from our shores and too damaging to our tourism and boating economies.
“We will carry on the fight in the hope that sanity prevails and this hugely expensive white elephant is scrapped.”
A map showing how the boundaries have changed
The move comes in response to feedback received from the public and statutory consultees during the final round of consultation last year The firm said the latest change, when combined with the previous scaling back of the site in December 2012, will significantly reduce the visual impact of the development from all viewpoints along the coast in Dorset, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.
It means in locations such as the Isle of Wight, Lymington and Christchurch, the turbines will be further away from the shore.
The project will now cover an area of 155km2 compared to the 175km2 under the previous boundary with the number of turbines falling from 218 to 194.
It means that if the application is approved the wind farm will generate enough energy to power 710,000 - 80,000 fewer than the original proposal.
Mike Unsworth, Project Director at Navitus Bay, said: “We have always listened to and acted upon the feedback we receive from our public consultations and our statutory consultees.
“We hope that local residents and statutory consultees who have expressed concern about the wind park will welcome today's announcement. The boundary change is significant, and balances the need to reduce visual impact while ensuring that the project continues to make an important contribution to sustainable energy generation in the UK and to the local economy in the shape of jobs and investment.”
Dr Andrew Langley of Challenge Navitus campaign group described the changes as “marginal”
He said: “We are still awaiting full details, but the changes to the plan appear to be marginal and go nowhere near far enough to convince people that this disastrous proposal won't have the damaging impacts that so many fear.
“The proposal would need a far more radical rethink to address the issues raised in consultation, and it remains a bad plan in completely the wrong area.”