CONTROVERSIAL plans for a huge offshore wind park off the south-west of the Isle of Wight have been scaled back.
As a direct result of talks with local communities and statutory consultees, developers behind Navitus Bay have today (Tuesday) announced a "significant reduction" to its proposal.
It said the changes, which include moving the development further out to sea and making it smaller in scale, will significantly reduce the visual impact of the project from key areas.
The distance of the nearest turbine to the Isle of Wight has increased from 13.5km to 13.9km, which will protect navigational safety for vessels entering the Solent.
Navitus Bay has narrowed the size of turbine options being considered, meaning that fewer would be built — from 333 to 218. This also means the largest turbine will now be smaller than previously proposed, with a maximum height of 200 metres rather than 210m.
The maximum overall capacity of the project has been reduced by eight per cent, from 1,200 MW to 1,100 MW, while the total area of seabed to be developed will be cut by 12 per cent from 198 square km to 185 sq km.
Mike Unsworth, project director, said: "We have moved the site significantly further from the coast, reducing the potential visual and navigational impact of the wind park.
"In addition, we have reduced the maximum number of turbines in the proposal and reduced the height of the tallest turbine.
"We feel these significant adjustments to the plans strike a good balance between responses we have had from consultees and the technical viability from an environmental, engineering, shipping and commercial perspective."
A series of public consultation events will take place in February next year.