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Wind farm may damage views from East Sussex coastline

Seven Sisters and Beachy Head.

Seven Sisters and Beachy Head.

Concerns have been raised about the impact of the wind farm on views from the coastline in East Sussex.

The National Trust, the South Downs National Park Authority and Peacehaven MP Simon Kirby were amongst those who spoke out against the scheme.

The Rampion Offshore Wind Farm will be built about 12km off the coast of Newhaven and will consist of up to 175 turbines.

National Trust general manager for South Downs Jane Cecil said: “We support renewable energy in principle, but we remain concerned about the major potential impact of the proposals on Birling Gap, Seven Sisters and the Heritage Coast within the National Park and are disappointed that there is not a satisfactory resolution of the offsetting issue to maximise the potential for mitigation.”

E.ON was granted planning permission by the Government to construct the wind farm.

The Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change required E.ON to support further mitigation and monitoring with a payment of more than £358,500 to the National Park.

Chief executive for the South Downs National Park Authority Trevor Beattie said: “Recognising the benefits of renewable energy we worked closely with Natural England and E.ON to take the protected landscapes of the National Park, including the UK’s first heritage coast, fully into account in their proposals.

“The SDNPA will remain vigilant to ensure that the long-term benefits of renewable energy are not jeopardised by damage to our precious landscapes.

“We are disappointed that E.ON did not fully mitigate the impact on the South Downs.

“It is good news, however, that the Secretary of State has recognised the importance of our landscapes by agreeing the package of mitigation measures recommended by both Natural England and the SDNPA to reduce the impact on both the land and the people who work on it and enjoy it.

“This includes reducing the number of turbines and a turbine exclusion zone to reduce the visual impact on the world famous Seven Sisters.

“In addition changes to construction practices, and a requirement to work with the SDNPA, should minimise disruption and make sure E.ON meet these commitments.”

The National Park said it had secured a reduction in the number of turbines from 195 to a maximum of 175, the exclusion zone to restrict turbines closest to the Heritage Coast and changes to the construction process to reduce impact on archaeology, ecology, landscape and those visiting the National Park.

Peacehaven MP Simon Kirby has written to Energy Secretary Edward Davey asking him to look again at the decision.

Mr Kirby said local residents had raised concerns about the wind farm which included: the impact on birds; the view that local people will have from the coast, the level of subsidies with the cost of the turbines potentially adding significantly to the cost of electricity bills.

Mr Baker said: “This is a matter of deep concern to many of my constituents. I hope the Secretary of State will look again at this decision which has many long-term implications for the area.

 

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