The construction of a giant wind farm off the Sussex coast could drive away birds and dolphins.
A draft environmental report into the impact of the proposed Rampion offshore wind farm suggests marine mammals, fish and other large marine organisms could be affected during the construction.
Bottlenose dolphins, common dolphins, harbour porpoises and long-finned pilot whales are all seen in the area of the proposed windfarm, which stretches from Newhaven to Worthing.
The report said: “Project activities that could affect marine mammals and the other large marine organisms listed above include, in the construction phase, pile-driving noise, noise from vessels and other construction noise, increased turbidity and re-suspension of polluted sediments and ship strikes.”
It said animals could potentially be affected by changes to the tide – which is particularly important for harbour porpoise – and the noise of vessels.
Concern for birds
There are also fears that birds in the area could be affected during the construction stage of the wind farm, which would likely last up to three years.
The report said: “Construction activities (e.g. piling and an increase in boat traffic) will result in noise and vibration with the potential to disturb and displace bird species from the wind farm site for the duration of installation activities.
“The presence of plant and personnel on site could also cause localised disturbance throughout construction.
“In all cases, such disturbance impacts are likely to be temporary and exist only when vessels are on the wind farm site and/or particular construction activities are being undertaken.”
E.ON hopes to lease the seabed for 50 years and are currently consulting on this.
It is hoped the proposed windfarm would generate and export up to 700MW of power to the National Grid.
An E.ON spokeswoman said: “E.ON is a very responsible developer and takes all the facts into consideration.”
She said the firm always attempted to “minimise any impact”.
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