Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Rampion offshore wind farm proposal - where's the independent advice?

Hello and welcome to my blog.

I'm going to focus on Rampion offshore wind farm proposal again and will continue to do so for a while. It's not that there aren't other things going on here; it's just that we have until the 6th May to have our say so there's not much time to gather and disseminate information.

Before I get going, I wanted to share this interesting BBC video with you on the mechanics of building an offshore wind farm.

Just to bring any new readers up to speed, EON are trying to sell us a product, one of the world's largest offshore wind farms.  We know the benefits and we know one of the consequences, a change to our seascape. But would there be any other less obvious consequences if we bought into the product?  For instance an adverse impact on the local economy, marine environment and shipping? Will there be any noise nuisance? Will there be a drop in house prices?

Whilst not doubting EON's veracity, they are selling something and sales claims can be overblown and the small print can be very, very small. Hence independent opinions from the equivalent of Which? would be helpful.  However, trying to find that is nigh on impossible.  For instance, Adur District Council referred me to EON's website when I asked if they could disclose records of discussions on the possible impact on the local economy, future economic development and tourism should Rampion gain consent.

When I visited our MPs' site, he wrote,

It would produce enough electricity to supply 450,000 homes annually as well as being a tremendous benefit to the environment by reducing 920,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions. I have had a number of meetings with Rampion representatives and they have explained that the turbines will not interfere with ships approaching or leaving the shore and that the base of the turbines will actually act as artificial reefs for sea life.

Rampion will be connected into a National Grid transmission substation at Bolney and the 28km cable will travel underground in order to minimise the impact on local residents. There will, obviously, be some noise from building works onshore along with access to Brooklands Pleasure Park being restricted but, overall, disruption will be minimal.
The wind farm will present a great opportunity for the local economy through construction contracts, local operations and maintenance base, operational services and supplies. It is also a potential support for tourism as e.on’s Scroby Sands Offshore Wind Farm visitor centre attracted 40,000 visitors in 2010." 


Are there no downsides? Does moving wind farms offshore solve the problems some residents have experienced with onshore wind farms? Without this information it's very difficult to make an informed decision by the 6th May.

There are 16 operational offshore wind farms in the UK. Has anyone done an impact assessment of those on the local marine environment and nearby communities a year, two, three years down the line?  Have none been done because there's been an acceptance of Ed Milliband's view that  'It is socially unacceptable to be against wind turbines in your area - like not wearing your seatbelt or driving past a zebra crossing'."  Socially unacceptable to research, to review, to re-consider?  

So, onto the business in hand. What more do we know this week that we didn't know last week? 

1. Fugro Seacore have started work on installing an offshore Met Mast for EON at the proposed Rampion site. The jack-up barge is visible on the horizon from the NCI watch tower going west towards Worthing.  You will get a better view from Worthing Pier. I understand that it's about 8 miles offshore which is tremendously helpful as that would be the site of the closest turbine to land. The mast will be 110 metres high (360 feet) when installed so it can be compared the size of the proposed wind turbines.  The smallest proposed wind turbine (3 MW class) is 180m tall (maximum tip height) or 600 feet tall.  The next size up (5MW class) is 190m (maximum tip height) or 623 feet tall, and the biggest one, (7 MW class), is 210m (maximum tip height) or 680 feet tall. 

2. EON's Environmental Impact Assessment will be available towards the end of May and will be put up on the Rampion Website. Sadly this is after the consultation deadline. 

3. EON welcome any advice on reaching out to others who may have an interest in the project and if you have any suggestions please contact them on Facebook. 

4. EON were expected at Shoreham's Farmer's Market on Saturday but didn't seem to be there.

5. Tim Loughton MP is going to take up the consultation issue with EON. (see comments in previous blog)

6. Sussex Yacht Club and Shoreham Port have briefly commented on the impact on the proposed wind farm upon them and I will post their comments soon.

7. I had hoped to bring you extracts from the key potential environmental implications in Rampion's Scoping Report but it's not possible to copy or duplicate the report without the express permission of RSK and EON. No time to get that but I do urge you to read it.

Hope you have a good week and I'll be back as soon as I have any more news.

Ta-ra for now.


  1. This is the first time i am reading your post and admire that you posted article which gives users lot of information regarding particular topic thanks for this share.

  2. Hi Rosh. Thanks for your comment and I'm glad that you found it useful. I did a whole series of blog on the potential impact of Rampion so you might enjoy those too. Take care.