THE wind farm proposed for the Dorset coast will be moved further out to sea and have fewer turbines, it has been revealed.

Navitus Bay yesterday said that the changes, which were a ‘direct result’ of discussion with statutory consultees and communities, would reduce the farm’s visual impact.

But opposition group Challenge Navitus said the changes were ‘minor’ and would make little difference.

Navitus Bay, which is a joint venture between Dutch firm Eneco and EDF Energy, said the park would now be 12 miles away from Bournemouth, rather than 10, and the maximum number of turbines would be 218, rather than 333.

Maximum height will now be 200m, not 210m, while the total area of the seabed that will be used reduces from 198sqkm to 175sqkm.

Navitus added that the changes would reduce the park’s generating capacity from 1,200 megawatts to 1,100.

Mike Unsworth, project director for Navitus Bay Development Limited, 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 that these significant adjustments to the plans strike a good balance between responses that we have had from consultees and the technical viability from an environmental, engineering, shipping and commercial perspective.

“The changes demonstrate that Navitus Bay is fully engaged in the debate and willing to listen.”

David Lloyd, of Challenge Navitus, said: “These changes are minor and will make very little difference to the damaging impact this development will have on our beautiful and unspoilt landscape, on our economy and in increasing risks to sailors and migrating birds.

“If NBDL had been genuinely listening to the concerns of people, their amended plans would have conformed with government guidelines and located the wind farm at least 14 miles out to sea where its visual impact would have been significantly reduced.

“Challenge Navitus will provide a detailed critique in the next few days when we have had more time to study these latest plans more closely.”

Cllr John Beesley, inset, leader of Bournemouth Council, said: “The Council has spent a lot of time and effort putting pressure on Eneco to locate the wind farm further out to sea in order to minimise its visible impact on the natural environment. It is clear that our efforts and the pressure we have placed on Eneco is starting to make a difference.

“We will now wait to see the new visuals from Eneco in order to really determine the effect that these changes will have on the view out to Poole Bay.

“We continue to wait for a full assessment of the economic impact the proposed wind farm would have on the town.

“We will do everything possible to continue to represent our residents’ views in the next phase of consultation in February.”

A series of public consultation events will take place across Dorset, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight in February 2013.

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