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Concerns raised over wind farm proposals

Fishermen have voiced their concerns over the proposed Rampion off-shore wind farm.

Under plans put forward by energy giant E.ON, up to 175 turbines would be installed at sea off the Sussex coastline.

Fishermen operating out of Shoreham harbour are concerned about the effects the structures could have on migrating fish species, and how deep cables are to be dug into the sea bed, which could have an effect on trawling.

One fisherman, who asked not to be named, said: “We have deep reservations over the impact the wind farm will have, as nothing can be proved or tested.

“The view, on the whole, is that we are not against it – but we are if it affects the fish. It could be catastrophic.”

Shoreham Port has also raised its concerns over the potential economic impact, due to the loss of fishing areas in ‘exclusion zones’ around the turbine towers.

Furthermore, ships may have to divert from their usual course to enter the harbour, potentially costing more in fuel.

Peter Davies, of Shoreham Port, said: “Rampion has gone into planning and we have registered as an interested party and will air our views at public hearings. We are supportive but we have concerns which could be serious.

“They (E.ON) do acknowledge these issues but don’t take them fully into account, and not seriously enough.”

The wind farm will be discussed at a meeting of West Sussex County Council’s environmental and community services select committee, taking place tomorrow.

The agenda item is listed for 10.35am and will be webcast at hwww.westsussex.public-i.tv/core/portal/home

The meeting of the environmental and community services select committee taking place tomorrow at County Hall, Chichester, will be webcast to the public.

E.ON says the Rampion wind farm would generate enough electricity to meet the needs of 450,000 homes a year.

E.ON’s development manager for the Rampion project, Chris Tomlinson, said: “Following extensive consultations which ran in total for 20 weeks in 2012, we listened to the feedback and have made many improvements to our plans.”