Atlantic Array wind farm plan reduced to 278 wind turbines

Plans for a wind farm in the Bristol Channel have been reduced from 417 to 278 turbines after public talks. RWE npower renewables says it will also move the planned Atlantic Array Offshore Wind Farm a further 3.7 miles (6 km) away from the Welsh coast to 14 miles (22.5 km) at its closest point.

The company said it has altered its plans following public feedback after holding exhibitions last year. Another round of consultation is due to be held along the south Wales coast.

"These revisions will mean any potential visual and environmental effects of the wind farm will be reduced," said Robert Thornhill, wind farm development manager for RWE npower renewables. Plans will eventually be considered by The Planning Inspectorate with the final decision up to the Secretary of State.

When the scheme was discussed last year the first minister reiterated his frustration that big onshore wind farm decisions are to be taken outside Wales.

RWE npower renewables said the decision to revise its initial plans follows detailed analysis of the results of comprehensive environmental and engineering studies, together with the public consultation.

Mr Thornhill said: "Following requests by the public to undertake a second round of informal consultation, we will be holding events along the south Wales coast in July and August to give the local communities an opportunity to find out more about the changes to the wind farm and view photo montages which will show the revised wind farm design."

The Atlantic Array project team will also be at the exhibitions to answer questions. When the project was first unveiled five years ago, the cost was estimated at £3bn.

It is much bigger than the the Gwynt y Mor project in north Wales which involves 160 wind turbines off the north Wales coast.

Developers claim the Atlantic Array project could provide the equivalent of 90% of the domestic electricity consumption needs of Wales.