THE government's announcement that it will offer more funding to offshore wind farms has been welcomed by supporters of the Navitus Bay scheme.

Ministers have pledged to cut support for onshore wind and solar energy but give more backing to offshore schemes, like the Navitus Bay wind farm proposed for the Dorset coast.

But opponents say the move does not diminish their arguments against the plans and have promised to continue their fight.

The Navitus Bay scheme proposes siting up to 218 turbines in an area 8.89 miles from Swanage and 12.24 miles from Bournemouth.

Mike Unsworth, project director of Navitus Bay, said: “We welcome the government's ongoing support for offshore wind energy and its commitment to decarbonising our electricity sector.

“Offshore wind developments such as Navitus Bay will help the UK meet its carbon reduction targets, reduce our reliance on imported energy and boost the economy by creating tens of thousands of jobs.”

However, opponents fear the wind farm will industrialise the landscape, threaten the coast's World Heritage Status and hit the tourism economy.

Research carried out by Navitus revealed around a third of current visitors would be deterred from returning during the three-year construction phase and 14 per cent of visitors claim the loss of view would stop them coming back.

Conor Burns, MP for Bournemouth West, said he was “relaxed” about the government announcement because he said there was compelling evidence the Navitus Bay wind farm would have a detrimental impact on the area. I don't think for a second that it impacts on the arguments that we're going to make about why the proposal is too close and too potentially devastating for our local economy.”

And Philip Dewhurst, of the Poole and Christchurch Bays Association, said: “It’s hard to see how they could give any more money to this scheme, it is already going to receive enormous subsidies. But our concerns remain that it is too big, too close and not necessary.”