UK's Navitus Bay shrinks again

Plans for the Navitus Bay offshore wind farm off southern England have been scaled back for a second time, taking its maximum capacity to 970MW in a bid to reduce visual impact from the shore.

Navitus Bay – a 50/50 joint venture between French utility EDF and Dutch group Eneco – will now use up to 194 turbines from a previous maximum of 218, or 1.1GW, assuming the deployment of 5MW machines.

The area covered by the project falls to 155 sq km from a previous 175 sq km off the coasts of Dorset and the isle of Wight.

The higher figures were themselves a reduction on the original plan for a 1.2GW, 333-turbine development which was first scaled back in December 2012.

The Navitus Bay project company said the latest reduction comes “in response to feedback received from the public and statutory consultees during the final round of consultation last year”.

The effect will be to move the site up to 3.8km further from shore by removing the northernmost “triangle” of the project zone.

A statement said: “This 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, whilst 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.”

The project team is preparing to make a final planning application for the wind farm.

 Mike Unsworth, project director at Navitus Bay, said: “We believe we now have an application that reflects in-depth local consultation and will, if granted planning permission, bring enormous benefits to the local region.”

The UK Round 3 project was originally known as the Isle of Wight zone.