Updated Rampion Offshore Wind Farm plans for Sussex coast are sent to inspector

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New plans, adapted after consultation to reduce the impact on the scenery, on fisherman and sea users and of the cable route, have been submitted by E.ON for Rampion Offshore Wind Farm.

During the last year, the energy company said it had listened to feedback from more than 1,500 people and organisations before submitting its proposals to the Planning Inspectorate on Friday.

As a result, the wind farm area has been reduced by a quarter and the number of turbines by 20.

Solutions have also been forwarded to address the South Down National Park’s concerns.

Once the Planning Inspectorate has carried out checks in the new year, the public will be able to access the application documents and submit comments to the Inspectorate.

Chris Tomlinson, E.ON development manager for the project, said: “We’re very grateful for the level of interest the local community have shown in this project.

“Having considered their feedback and taken on board their views, we’ve made some significant changes to improve our proposals that will reduce the impact on the local community, while maintaining a project capable of generating electricity for the needs of two thirds of the homes in Sussex.”

The main concerns were the visual impact of the wind farm from the Sussex Heritage Coast, the effect on sea users and of the onshore cable route on the South Downs National Park.

The wind farm area has been reduced by almost a quarter of the area consulted upon and to around half that originally awarded by The Crown Estate by removing an area to the south east.

E.ON said this lowered the proportion of the wind farm visible from the Heritage Coast by more than 35 per cent and the project could feature between 100 and 175 turbines depending on the model selected, while still generating enough electricity to supply the equivalent of around 450,000 homes.

The company put forward a ducted method of cable installation to reduce the time required for trenching and restoration and a commitment to communicate with users, informing them of the impact on Public Rights of Way.

Following concerns raised about semi natural ancient woodland outside the National Park, minor realignments of the cable route have been introduced to avoid ecologically sensitive areas and measures have been taken to minimise the impact on wave heights, which the surfing and wave sports community were concerned about.

Those who wish to comment on the proposals will be able to register an interest with the Planning Inspectorate at http://infrastructure.planningportal.gov.uk