CONTROVERSIAL plans for a £3 billion wind farm off the Hampshire coast are facing fresh criticism.

The organisation that runs the New Forest National Park has hit out at the visual impact of the proposed Navitus Bay project, part of which would be just 12 miles from the shore.

Members of the National Park Authority (NPA) said the 194 turbines would harm the character of the area.

As reported in the Daily Echo, the development would occupy a 60 square mile site west of the Isle of Wight and would produce enough electricity to power more than 700,000 homes.

A report to the NPA’s planning committee was told the wind farm would be visible from parts of the National Park.

It also raised concerns over an underground cable linking the farm with a National Grid sub-station in Dorset.

Committee chairman, Cllr Pat Wyeth, said the cable could create a “permanent scar” across the Forest while Cllr Maureen Holding warned it would have “a terrific impact”.

Members were told that lights would be attached to the 200-metre high turbines to make them visible to ships and aircraft in the dark.

But Daniel Bates of Navitus Bay Development Ltd said the company had sought to minimise the impact on the area “wherever possible”.