Concerns raised over plans to expand offshore wind farm

Video report by ITV News Meridian's Malcolm Shaw

MPs have raised concerns over plans to expand the Rampion wind farm off the West Sussex coast.

Andrew Griffith, the Conservative MP for Arundel and South Downs, and Nick Gibb, the Conservative MP for Bognor Regis and Littlehampton, have both stated that it is not the right location for the project.

The expansion plans are currently in a nine-week public consultation.

They include up to 116 new turbines at least 1.5 times the height of those at the existing wind farm.

In a joint statement with Mr Gibb, Mr Griffith MP says the proposed Onshore Cable Corridor would impact 'a large swath of countryside and communities' in the constituency of Arundel and South Downs. 

A public consultation into plans to expand Rampion Wind Farm has started

He said: "Offshore wind power is already playing a valuable role in our journey to Net Zero; however, with plenty of capacity available at sites with more reliable wind in the North Sea, I am unconvinced  that West Sussex is the best place for such a large windfarm expansion." 

"In particular, I share the concerns of local residents that creating a second onshore cable corridor is unnecessarily disruptive, cutting across ancient-woodland and prime farmland. The South  Downs National Park rightly has the highest degree of protection in law and has been bisected by cables once already." 

Meanwhile Nick Gibb MP said: "I support the Government's aim for the UK to be a world leader in renewable energy and the Government's ambitious programme to tackle climate change, but this stretch of the West Sussex coastline is an inappropriate location for such a large wind farm. "The English Channel is too narrow to enable the turbines to be positioned far enough out to sea to be acceptable. This proposal does not, therefore, comply with the Government's recommendations for offshore wind farms of this size."

Rampion 2 in numbers:

270km² sea area being explored for optimum wind farm site

Up to 116 wind turbines and foundations

Around 250km of subsea inter-array cables to connect turbines to the offshore substation(s)

At least 12 horizontal direction drills, including under Climping Beach, the River Adur, railways, major roads and a recreation ground

RWE Renewables UK says the expansion would have electrical capacity to power the equivalent of over 1 million homes, saving 1.8 million tonnes of CO2 emissions per year.

Chris Tomlinson, Development Manager of Rampion 2 said: "We're a huge population here in the south, therefore we have a massive electricity demand.

"There's only Rampion operating off the south coast of England, and only Rampion 2 proposed off the entire south coast.

"So it is right that we do our bit to tackle climate change and secure energy supplies. But there are other benefits too. Tourism - the visitor's centre attracting many visitors. And of course, the jobs created during construction."The public can have their say on the consultation plans until 16 September.