Don’t ‘surrender’ to West Sussex wind farm plan say campaigners
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The proposals could see 325-metre-high turbines – the same height as the Eiffel Tower and taller than the highest peak of the South Downs — installed and a new 11-acre sub station built in Bolney.
A petition has been launched by campaigners ‘in the hope of finding a better way forward’. Among the concerns raised were that the proposals would go against government guidelines, whilst also posing a threat to wildlife and the economy.
Zoe Visram, member of the Middleton-on-sea Coastal Alliance, said the ‘huge wind farm’ would be sited close to shore in a ‘low wind’ area that ‘cannot even connect to the national grid via existing cable connections’.
“Instead cutting a new 37km cable route path through ancient woodland and internationally rare chalk grassland of the nationally important South Downs National Park,” she said.
“Significantly the proposed wind farm would be hugely detrimental to many organisations’ previous efforts to conserve the biodiversity of our beloved marine and wildlife, plus detrimental to our special and recently protected Sussex Kelp forests.”
Ms Visram said ‘most people’ embrace the use of energy from renewable resources, including offshore wind farms, to counter the effects of global warming.
However, she shared the view that there is ‘plenty of capacity at sites further out to sea’, adding: “It just does not make sense to build it in a low wind area.”
Ms Visram said the plan is ‘stop the juggernaut’ of Rampion 2 wind farm and the ‘tremendous damage’ it will cause to the heritage of the West Sussex Coast and ‘numerous protected species’ She added: “Surrender to Rampion 2 and we surrender our precious marine and wildlife and beautiful heritage coast.”
The developers said projects like Rampion 2 are ‘vital’ to help achieve the UK Government’s ‘ambitious offshore wind energy targets’ of 40GW by 2030.
A spokesperson from the Rampion 2 team added: “We held a nine-week public consultation for Rampion 2 earlier this year, with well over 12,000 visits to our online exhibition and we are currently working to accommodate feedback in our design change and mitigation planning process.
“It is the only wind farm proposed off the south coast of England and could quadruple our contribution to creating clean, renewable electricity to power over one million homes and reduce carbon emissions by around 1.8 million tonnes per year, in addition to Rampion’s existing generation.
“Modern wind turbines can now generate three times the power output of the original Rampion 1 turbines and we aim to maximise the advances in technology to generate more clean energy for the UK and south east.”
Rampion said it has assessed the ‘maximum theoretical siting’ of turbines across the full search area but this is ‘not where we expect the project will end up’.
The spokesperson added: “The proposed Rampion 2 will be at least as far offshore as the existing Rampion 1, which is eight miles to the nearest point.”
To sign the petition, which has a deadline of February 23 next year, visit https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/594733.