The Challenge Navitus group says their concerns have 'barely been addressed'

Campaigners against a proposed windfarm off the Dorset coast have criticised new plans to minimise its impact.

The Challenge Navitus group say the Navitus Bay windfarm still remains ‘a major threat to the region’

It follows last week’s announcement by the Navitus Bay project, that the wind park in Poole Bay would be smaller and further out to sea- to try and reduce the potential
visual impact of turbines and protect navigational safety.

Changes included reducing the size of the scheme from 333 to 218 turbines, increasing the distance of
the nearest turbine to Hengistbury Head from
13.5km to 16.41km.

It was also announced that there would be an eight per cent reduction in the maximum overall capacity of the project from 1200 to 1100 MW, plus a 12 per cent reduction in the total area of seabed that would be developed from 198 to 175 square km.

But Challenge Navitus, the community-based group opposed to the scheme, say their concerns have ‘barely been addressed’.

Spokesman David Lloyd said: ‘The changes seem to address primarily a problem with ship
navigation to the North of the farm.

‘Even in its revised form, if it were built today, the windfarm would
still be the biggest in the world and remain totally out of proportion in an
area that is home to England’s only natural UNESCO World Heritage Site and two
Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

‘Our region is a highly valuable national asset, economically,
environmentally and culturally, and it is counter-productive to place this at
risk when it contributes so much.’

Mr Lloyd said that despite the latest changes, at its closest
point the windfarm would still be only 8.9 miles from the coast.

He added: ‘From Durlston
and the World Heritage Site, the span of the revised development area is 59°,
so the windfarm could be well over double the apparent width of the Isle of
Wight and nearly three times its apparent height.

‘While the reductions in visibility from Bournemouth and
Christchurch are welcome, a far more radical overhaul is needed to
significantly mitigate the effects of the windfarm.’

Challenge Navitus’ also say the ‘35% reduction’ in the maximum numberof turbines simply means that Navitus Bay Development Lited (NBDL) has stopped
considering the use of ‘small’ turbines, which are more expensive to install
and run than the bigger turbines now in production.

NDBL had
originally proposed a wide range of turbine sizes starting at 3.6MW and up to 333
in number.

The campaign group also saythe
changes do not greatly reduce the general navigational risks for shipping, that even with the revised 1100MW capacity, Navitus Bay is still more than 20%
higher than the original capacity of 900MW for this zone when it was announced
in 2010 and that the windfarm still lies on an internationally important bird migration route.

Mr Lloyd added: ‘Our concerns and those of the public at large have been
barely addressed by these changes, which is disappointing given NBDL’s claim to
be serious about the consultation process.

‘Navitus Bay would produce less than 3% of the total planned
offshore wind power, and we think that far more thought should be given to
alternatives before this fantastic national asset is degraded.’

  • A series of public consultation events will
    take place across Dorset, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight in February

The exhibitions will display new and improved visualisations as
well as an interactive 3D model of the site and onshore cable route.

Precise dates, times and locations are yet to be finalised but will be announced in due course.

New visuals of the projetc have been unveiled and can be found by clicking here.

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