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Sussex coast wind farm bid to have fewer structures

A giant wind farm off the Sussex coast would have fewer turbines but each could be taller.

Bosses at E.ON have announced they will cap the number of turbines on the sea bed south of Brighton at 175, down from the 195 originally planned.

They say the move, which is part of “significant changes” to the scheme, will still mean it can generate enough electricity to supply the equivalent of about 450,000 homes.

However, official documents show that fewer turbines will mean increased heights of up to 124 metres.

The plans have been submitted to the Planning Inspectorate which will review the proposal and make a decision on the scheme next year.

The alterations follow a consultation in which more than 1,500 people and organisations commented.

Main concerns were the visual impact of the wind farm and the impact of the onshore cable route on South Downs National Park.

Less visible

Fears were also expressed about the impact on access for fishermen and sea users.

The wind farm area is now about half that originally awarded by The Crown Estate in January 2010 so parts are less visible from the coast.

This means there will be between 100 and 175 turbines depending on the model. It could still generate up to 700MW for the National Grid.

Changes have also been made to the foundations which will minimise the impact on wave heights Surfers Against Sewage campaign director Andy Cummins said: “After some urgent intervention from us there is a win-win solution for the south coast, protecting surf resources and delivering green energy.”

National Grid

Further changes include a new method of installing the cable to link the wind farm with the National Grid in Bolney, near Haywards Heath.

E.ON claims a “tailored construction” will reduce the impact on the chalk grasslands at Tottington Mount, near Upper Beeding, while the cable route has been slightly changed to avoid ecologically sensitive areas, such as ancient woodland.

Trees will also be planted in Bob Lane, near the new Bolney substation, to limit the visual impact.

The Planning Inspectorate will spend a month considering the proposals, publicised in the first quarter of 2013 when comments will be accepted.