THOUSANDS of people from across Sussex have turned out to give E.ON their views on its proposed Rampion Offshore Wind Farm - which if built would stretch from Worthing to Seaford just a few miles from the coast.
The company has hosted 12 public exhibitions in the largest consultation it has ever undertaken in the UK, with 4,511 members of the community attending to find out more about the proposal.
The formal community consultation does not end until Sunday May 6, and those wishing to comment on the plans can still have time to make their views known.
Chris Tomlinson, E.ON development manager for the project, said that while he has been surprised by the level of response he found the majority of people to be positive about the proposed regional development.
The Rampion Offshore Wind Farm, named after the county flower of Sussex, would be just over eight miles off the Sussex coast at its nearest point, and could feature between 100 and 195 turbines depending on the model used.
E.ON claims the site could accommodate an installed electrical capacity of up to 700MW, which the energy firm estimates could generate electricity for 450,000 homes - equivalent to more than two-thirds of the homes in the whole of Sussex, including the city of Brighton and Hove.
However, the electricity generated will need be transported inland to Bolney where it would enter the National Grid at a new substation. To facilitate this it will be necessary to lay a high power cable across the intervening countryside which includes the South Downs National Park.
Rampion would also irreparably change the view out to sea from the Sussex coast, with scores of large turbines either blighting or enhancing it depending on one’s personal opinion.
Brighton and Hove’s Green MP Caroline Lucas said: “This exciting clean energy project could provide a real boost for Brighton and Hove, and the Sussex economy as a whole.
“Investment in renewables and green industries is precisely what we need to create jobs for local people and do our bit to reduce carbon emissions.
“It’s hugely important in developments like Rampion that the local community is able to voice concerns and contribute to the process - so EON’s extensive consultation is encouraging.”
E.ON is currently installing a meteorological mast on the site to measure wind speeds, wave heights, sea currents and other offshore environmental data.
The company already owns and operates three offshore wind farms in UK waters; the UK’s first offshore wind farm near Blyth in Northumberland, Scroby Sands off the coast of Great Yarmouth and Robin Rigg in the Solway Firth.
E.ON is also currently building the 219MW Humber Gateway offshore wind farm, located off the Holderness Coast in the East Riding of Yorkshire and is a partner in the London Array, which will be the world’s largest offshore wind farm when complete.
The community consultation period will end on Sunday May 6. To comment on the proposal complete and return a consultation questionnaire; online at www.eon-uk.com/rampion, or www.facebook.com/rampionwindfarm, post to FREEPOST RAMPION OFFSHORE WIND FARM, email the Rampion team using email@example.com or call the consultation line on 01273 694 876.