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Eight miles of cable will run through the South Downs

An environmental campaign group has called on energy company E.ON to justify its plans to run eight miles of cable through the newly established South Downs National Park.

The company is planning to put between 100 and 200 turbines off the Sussex coast in its Rampion wind farm project.

Not only is the society concerned about the view out to sea, but it has challenged E.ON’s intention to route its new power cables across the chalk Downs to connect with the national grid at Bolney.

Society chairman Robert Cheesman said: “We support efforts to generate energy from renewable, green sources but we look at each case on its merits. When most people go for a walk along theDowns they don’t want to look out at a wind farm.

“If there have to be turbines out in the English Channel, they should be as far away as possible from tranquil areas of countryside.”

On the question of cables, Mr Cheesman said: “We’re pleased that E.ON has opted for underground cables rather than overhead wires but we have yet to see a proper justification for the route it favours.

“There are no finer landscapes in Britain than our national parks and the South Downs deserve the highest- possible protection.”

The society is demanding a substantial package of environmental improvement schemes in the Downs to compensate for any damage.