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Rampion offshore wind farm scaled down in West Sussex: reaction from Arun 

Credit:  By Jessica Hubbard, local democracy reporter, 19 Oct 2022, sussexexpress.co.uk ~~

Proposals to build Rampion 2 – an extension to the existing Rampion wind farm – have been scaled back following concerns.

It is estimated that the offshore turbines – which would be around 13 kilometres from the coast between Brighton and Littlehampton – could power one million homes.

But some locals have expressed concerns over the size and quantity of wind turbines which are expected to be 325 metres tall.

Wind turbines at sea

Chris Tomlinson, development and stakeholder manager for Rampion 2, confirmed the scaled back plans.

“In response to feedback on visual effects and shipping from key stakeholders, including Natural England, we have reduced the extent of our offshore wind turbine array proposals by nearly half,” said Mr Tomlinson.

“In addition, we have decreased the maximum number of turbines down from 116 to 90.”

As Rampion 2 is a nationally significant infrastructure project (NSIP), local planning authorities won’t be responsible for granting or refusing planning permission.

Where onshore work could take place

That decision will instead lie with the government, but local authorities are still being consulted.

Construction could start in 2026 if planning permission is granted.

But Arun District Council’s planning comittee submitted a holding objection last year, due to concerns over wildlife, tourism, and potential local disruption.

Former committee member Hugh Coster (Ind., Aldwick East) maintained his objection to the wind farm and said it would be ‘far too close’ to the coast.

“I know there are reasons for this, but they do not justify its position, comparatively close to the shore,” he said.

Mr Coster called the scheme a ‘cheap add-on to Rampion 1’ and expressed concerns that any energy produced might not benefit Sussex households if it feeds into the National Grid.

“The investment in this would be far better directed to the North Sea, where it can link with existing installations and have the benefit of far greater and more consistent wind speeds,” he added.

A petition opposing the expansion gained more than 2,700 signatures.

Zoe Visram, a member of the Middleton-on-sea Coastal Alliance (MOSCA), said a scaled back wind farm would still be ‘gigantic’ and could decimate the seascape’.

“Ultimately, even with the scale back, Rampion 2 would be gigantic and built close to shore in a relatively low wind area, so highly inefficient compared to a wind farm placed further out to sea where winds are stronger and more constant,” she said.

Ms Visram also expressed concerns that the turbines and installation of underground cables could affect wildlife, Sussex’s Kelp Forests, and the South Downs National Park.

Although the turbines will be offshore, an inland cable and substations will be constructed and connected to the ‘landfall’ location at Climping Beach.

Rampion owners RWE Renewables say that horizontal directional drills (HDDs) will be used to tunnel underneath Climping Beach, the River Arun, the railway, and major roads to ‘reduce environmental impacts’ and ‘keep traffic and trains running during construction’.

Member of Parliament for Arundel and South Downs Andrew Griffith, said he was ‘keen to hear from residents on all aspects of this scheme’.

“The proposed onshore cable corridor impacts a large swath of countryside and communities in the constituency of Arundel and South Downs,” he said.

“Residents may share my concern about the environmental impact on some of our last remaining unspoiled countryside with the proposed route cutting through many ancient habitats and heritage sites on the South Downs.

“The promoters of the scheme have identified some alternatives which may be less environmentally damaging but at the moment the proposed route is the favoured route.

“The construction process may take many years, during which residents may face disruption.”

A number of information events have now been scheduled in areas along the cable corridor.

[rest of article available at source]

Source:  By Jessica Hubbard, local democracy reporter, 19 Oct 2022, sussexexpress.co.uk

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

The copyright of this article resides with the author or publisher indicated. As part of its noncommercial educational effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Send requests to excerpt, general inquiries, and comments via e-mail.

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