Before I launch into part 2 of EON's Environmental Impact Assessment on their proposal for a wind farm off the Sussex coast (Rampion), I just wanted to give a big cheer to all the Olympic athletes who are giving it their all just up the road and along a bit from Shoreham. We've got tickets for the Paralympics and I can't wait to get there.
I'm going to write this blog at break neck speed because today, 8th August, is the last day to comment on EON's Environmental Impact Assessment and I'm off to see Kiss me Kate at Chichester Festival Theatre in about an hour and a quarter.
In my last blog I dealt with the potential impacts of the Rampion offshore wind farm proposal on sea users and promised to deal with the potential impact on marine mammals, ornithology and nature conservation this time around. Sadly I can't say too much on the possible impact on our local tourism industry because the report is a bit sparse on this point. Under potential impacts it says:-
"The various project phases could have both negative and positive effects on the socio-economic situation of the region." (clause 2.8.127). Heck they've got more to say about the potential impact on marine mammals than on our £2 billion tourism industry, so let's sweep that under the carpet and talk dolphins.
"The reviewed literature indicates that diversity of marine mammals in the eastern English Channel is relatively poor. Only bottlenose dolphins and common dolphins are observed regularly with harbour porpoises observed occasionally near-shore, long-finned pilot whales observed more often offshore and minke whales now seen more regularly in the western region of the English Channel. Grey and common seals are seen occasionally in the area but there are no known significant breeding/haul-out areas for either species in the region" (clause 2.8.60)
So what are the potential impacts on this group of sea-users?
- noise and vibration from piling turbine foundations have the potential to cause death, injury, displacement or disturbance
- collision risk with wind farm related vessel traffic
- indirect impact from disturbance to and displacement of prey species
- indirect effect such as.. changes in tidal regimes affecting tidal races (of particular importance for harbour porpoise)
(clauses 2.8.65 - 2.8.67)
"There are no designated areas of importance for offshore ornithology located within the vicinity of the proposed development" (clause 2.8.70)
The potential impacts on birds who use the ecological resources in and around the site (i.e fish there), or over fly it, include:-
- a barrier effect on some species causing them to change flight path resulting in increased energetic costs of daily movements and migration.
- increased collision risk
- fish displacement from the wind farm area
"Twenty-four Marine Sites of Nature Conservation Importance are recognised by the Councils of East and West Sussex, and Brighton and Hove" (clause 2.8.49)
The potential impacts on these sites include:
- impact on nature conservation features during construction (installation of turbines, scour protection and export..vessel activity and accidental events such as fuel spillages) and operation (presence of wind turbines and rotation of wind turbines).
I've run out of time to tell you more but remember, today, 8th August 2012 is the last day to register your views on EON's Environmental Impact Assessment before they move onto the third and final phase of the planning application.
In my next blog, I'll be reporting on what John Bradshaw, Chairman of Shoreham Beach Residents Association, thinks of the proposal.