Two billion pound offshore Sussex wind farm plans take a step closer

News Posted 27/05/13
Developers of a major offshore windfarm scheme have expressed confidence the project will be given full approval by the Planning Inspectorate

Ambitious proposals for a two billion pound offshore wind farm are back on track, after the plans were withdrawn earlier this year due to issues over its planning application.

The Rampion scheme, which is expected to power around 450,000 homes) has been planned eight miles off the coast between Brighton and Worthing.

But the application to the Planning Inspectorate was dramatically pulled in January over energy company E.On’s consultation on the scheme, which it identified may not have met government guidelines in terms of engaging with residents beyond the initial zone of the project.

After further work, the company has re-submitted its bid and remains optimistic that it will gain approval following amendments to its initial larger-scale impact studies.

As the biggest scheme of its kind, it would include around 150 turbines – which has been reduced from an initial figure of nearly 200 following feedback from concerned residents who expressed fears over the plans over the huge project’s environmental impact.

In addition to its green credentials, the proposals would create 85 jobs for a maintenance base, which is to be located at Newhaven Port. The turbines would be upto 172 metres in height, which is presently under consideration. Speaking during its planning, project manager Chris Tomlinson said there “had been an air of positivity” about the scheme, which underwent significant public scrutiny last summer at a series of events.

He believed that improvements in turbine technology over the past few years would have a dramatic impact regarding ensuring they are as efficient and productive as possible. It is expected they would be in operation 99 per cent of the time, unlike a number of wind power sites that have endured criticism over inadequate levels of power production.

If the scheme gains approval, work would begin which would begin construction in late 2014, with the turbines being built in Denmark – which has attracted criticism over British companies missing out in the major part of construction work.

However, according to E.On, hundreds of firms had been identified from across the region that may stand to benefit in terms of providing specialist equipment and services during the construction phase. The planning application is now being considered and residents have been invited to make representation on their thoughts on the scheme, before a final decision is expected next summer.

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