The UK’s offshore wind energy capacity could increase by a further 3.4GW after The Crown Estate announced that eight projects have satisfied its application criteria.

Proposals to extend the 317MW Sheringham Shoal, 402MW Dudgeon, 573MW Race Bank, 504MW Greater Gabbard, 353MW Galloper and 300MW

Thanet wind farms off the east coast of England were approved.

The 576MW Gwynt y Mor wind farm off the west coast and the 400MW Rampion off the south coast also received backing.

All eight proposed extensions will now undergo “plan-level Habitats Regulations Assessment” to probe their impact on seabirds and the wider environment.

Further wind farms

The assessments will take between six and nine months.

If the environmental assessments are positive then leases could be granted next summer.

The Crown Estate said it was continuing to consider the potential for new leases off the coasts of England, Northern Ireland and Wales.

> Read The Crown Estate's announcement