Thursday, 30 August 2012

Rampion: It's consultation, but not as we know it.

Hello and welcome to my blog. I hope you're enjoying the dying embers of summer and are gearing up for the kids return to school. 

Slightly later than intended, here is my report on EON's recent meeting with SBRA on Rampion Offshore Wind farm

On the last day for submissions on E.ON’s Environmental Impact Assessment Report, Chris Tompkinson from E.ON arranged to meet Shoreham Beach Residents Association , (SBRA),  to consult on Rampion Offshore Wind Farm proposal in the Church of the Good Shepherd’s church hall.

John Bradshaw, chair of SBRA, was present and shares some of his thoughts on the meeting.   

“I’ve done a lot of consultations and this wasn’t consultation as I know it. This was one side telling us what they were going to do.

I expected that, in fact I nearly said no, we don’t want a meeting, but you’ve really got to talk to them even though you know it’s a waste of time.

They came with a list of issues that had been raised before and we were told we needn’t worry about those because they’d all been dealt with, in effect shutting down any discussion.

I raised the issues of coastal waves and currents and they said that they were happy that there was going to be very little change and they were going to speak to Surfers Against Sewage on this fact. I asked them whether they’d done any wind tunnel tests on what’s going to happen to the waves and they said that had all been done and there would be no difference to it. They were asked about the movement of sediment and they wouldn’t commit themselves that there would be no movement.

They said they were going to create employment in the area and they will use local people wherever they can. They said they couldn’t make the wind farms here (in the UK) because there is nobody making them, but they said about local people making rivets.

They said that the power would supply Sussex and I said that the electricity goes into the National Grid but they didn’t actually accept it. When I asked where the power comes from when the wind’s not blowing and it’s a cold night, they said existing power stations.

They said that the wind turbines would have lights on them that would be seen from the land. There are going to be a lot of them, but they didn’t think that would affect anyone and if anyone wants to see what they’ve done before they should go along to Margate and take a look.

Maurice Pitchfork asked what they were going to do about the drop in the value of property along the foreshore. Unfortunately we couldn’t expand on that because the next people were coming into the church hall.   In fact when I told Chris Tompkinson we were going to have the meeting in the church hall he got on the phone in a real panic and said, “I’m not going to meet the public. I don’t want a public meeting.”

I asked John whether he thought they were treating us like idiots. “Yes,” he said, “they are. I think they know they are going to get planning permission and they were just going through the exercise.  It was simply a tick in the box exercise, which is what everyone’s been saying.”

Since that interview I’ve asked EON if they are prepared to hold a public meeting to discuss the Environmental Impact Assessment Report before they submit their application for planning permission. 
The short answer is no.

Many thanks to John Bradshaw for contributing to this blog and see you next week.

PS. Kiss me Kate was marvellous. 

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