OPPONENTS and supporters of the proposed wind farm for the Dorset coast are preparing themselves for this week’s decision on the project.

The Navitus Bay scheme was thrust back into the spotlight at the weekend when a national newspaper claimed that it was poised to be rejected.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change is due to decide on or before Friday whether the scheme, which would see up to 121 turbines up to 200m tall erected 13 miles from Bournemouth and Poole and nine from Swanage, will go ahead.

Objectors have welcomed the claims with cautious optimism, but yesterday one group dismissed it as “speculation”.

Dr Andrew Langley, of Challenge Navitus, said: “The Telegraph story is just speculation.

“We’ve been campaigning against Navitus Bay for four years and so we’re content to wait a few more days until the government formally announces its decision before commenting.”

Roy Pointer, chairman of Poole and Christchurch Bays Association, which represents 50 residents’ associations, said: “If stories in the national press are correct, we would welcome a decision to refuse consent for Navitus Bay offshore wind farm and feel that common sense has prevailed."

East Dorset Friends of the Earth, meanwhile, said it would be “extremely disappointed” if the scheme was rejected.

If it is, it would be only the second major UK offshore wind farm to be thrown out.

Angela Pooley, from the group, said: “This would be going against their own policy of the need to move to renewables in order to reduce our carbon footprint and their claims of being the ‘greenest government yet’.

“We sincerely hope that the rumours are incorrect, common sense will prevail and permission is granted.”

Bournemouth’s MPs Conor Burns and Tobias Ellwood have both opposed the plans.

Tobias Ellwood, Bournemouth East MP, said: "I would urge caution; I am not sure where this information is coming from.

"The decision will have to be made by the minister.

"Clearly, if true, this is a testament to the efforts, not just of political forces but most importantly of residents, to make a compelling case to protect Bournemouth from what is an inappropriate development."

Cllr John Beesley, leader of Bournemouth council, added that he hoped the decision would “give significant weight” to concerns.

"Bournemouth council very much hopes that the extensive and detailed planning process has listened to the views of the thousands of interested parties who were keen to protect the natural environment for future generations and that the Secretary of State reaches the same conclusion by rejecting the Navitus Bay proposals,” he said.