CAMPAIGNERS both for and against the proposed Navitus Bay wind farm have welcomed the expansion of a larger site in the North Sea.

The latest stage of the Dogger Bank Zone offshore wind farm, located around 100 miles off the coast from Whitby, was approved by the Energy Secretary Amber Rudd on Wednesday.

It takes the total output of projects in the zone to 4.8 gigawatts, almost equal to all the offshore wind capacity now in operation in the UK.

Groups in favour of the Navitus proposal in Poole Bay have welcomed the decision as a demonstration of the government’s “commitment” to offshore wind, while those opposed have argued that the Dogger Bank scheme’s distance from the shore strengthens their case.

Angela Pooley, co-ordinator of East Dorset Friends of the Earth, said: “We welcome this news. It goes to show that the government still has a commitment to offshore wind, and we hope this means the Navitus project will go ahead.

“I think we can feel more confident as a result.”

Bournemouth Green Party councillor Simon Bull said: “The size of the Dogger Bank installation illustrates how important offshore wind energy is to the future of the UK energy mix.

“I hope that this sends a positive message to the government, and to politicians and councils in Dorset and on the Isle of Wight.”

The decision was also “welcomed” by the Navitus Bay Development Company.

Bournemouth West MP Conor Burns, who has campaigned against Navitus, said he believed the government would treat each case on its merits.

“The campaign against Navitus is not against renewable energy, we welcome that,” he said. “The salient thing to understand is that But the Dogger Bank project is 80 miles off the Yorkshire coast – the key point of difference is the proximity to the shore.”

Mr Burns has argued in parliament that the government would meet its off shore wind targets without Navitus being approved.

Philip Dewhurst, of Poole and Christchurch Bays Association, said: “There's bags of room on the Dogger Bank site to accommodate several Navitus Bay wind farms. We have always strongly urged that any additional capacity should be installed there.

“You can’t see that site from the shore, and everyone apart from a handful of activists feels Navitus is the wrong site for such a huge project.”

n The Navitus Bay project comprises up to 121 turbines, up to 200 metres high. The future of the project now rests with the Secretary of State Ms Rudd, who is due to decide by September 11.