Feedback deadline for two billion pound Rampion windfarm off Shoreham drawing to a close

Aiming to supply power to two-thirds of Sussex homes, the £2bn Rampion offshore wind farm plan stands as one of the region’s most ambitious projects.

But today (Wednesday, August 8) is the last day for businesses and residents to register feedback to the scheme, which would be built eight miles off the coast of Shoreham.

It goes before planners in October, with the past few months have seen a series of high-profile consultation events across the Herald and Gazette area for a scheme which could see the creation of up to 195 wind turbines.

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It is estimated it would be able to supply 450,000 homes across East and West Sussex.

Electricity firm E.On, which is leading the project, has centred its case for the scheme being necessary to meet the demands of the growing UK energy crisis.

This has been underlined by the fact a number of Britain’s rapidly-ageing nuclear power stations are due to be decommissioned over the next decade, leaving a large gap in domestic power supply.

While construction of the turbines would be in Denmark, a total of 600 companies have been identified across the region as being potential parts and maintenance suppliers for the wind farm.

One of the key contracts for a maintenance and engineering base has attracted strong interest from two potential candidates – Shoreham Port and Newhaven, with a decision expected within the next few weeks.

According to E.On project manager Chris Tomlinson, there would be between 60 and 85 jobs created in servicing the turbines, which are being considered in three potential design sizes.

These range in scale between 128 and 172 metres each in height.

Mr Tomlinson responded to concerns over the project, which has attracted fears from Shoreham Beach Residents’ Association over its visual impact.

He said: “The feedback from the public events we have had so far has been great. There has been a lot of interest in it, but we are still analysing all the results.

“We’ve extended the consultation so that people can see our environmental statement.

“There’s an air of positivity about the scheme, but we are aware there are concerns from people about it, which is not surprising as there’s been nothing like this in the whole of Sussex.

“That’s why we are trying to raise awareness about wind energy.

“In terms of the visual issue, there are those who really love the design of them and those who do not. We have to accept that’s the case.

“The aesthetics of this scheme are in the eye of the beholder and with it being eight miles offshore, it’s something that will be seen.

“But we could not put it any further out to sea in what are some of the busiest commercial shipping lanes in the world.”

Significantly, Mr Tomlinson explained there had been major increases in wind-turbine technology within the past couple of years which would be utilised in its latest scheme – on which construction is due to start in 2014, to be operational by 2017.

n The deadline for written feedback to the Rampion project is August 8. You can contact the company via [email protected] – and let the Herald & Gazette know your views: email us at [email protected]