Have your say on Rampion 2

07 September 2021 | Posted in Planning , Jess Price , Marine
Have your say on Rampion 2
Peter Cairns/2020VISION

By Jess Price

Conservation Officer

Only nine more days to have your say on plans to expand the Rampion Offshore Windfarm off the Sussex coast.
 
The Sussex Wildlife Trust recognises the threats posed by climate change and supports action to tackle the joint climate and ecological crises. However, the construction and operation of such a large infrastructure project inevitably poses risks to wildlife, so we are working to understand what these risks might be and whether we think these risks can be avoided or minimised. 
 
The process of getting consent for the expansion of the Rampion Windfarm is a lengthy one, and this particular consultation focuses on the work that RWE (the developer, and operator of Rampion 1) has done so far to assess the impacts on the environment and local communities. This is a really important opportunity for everyone to give their views about the Rampion 2 proposals and influence the final plans, due to be submitted to the Planning Inspectorate in 2022.
 
The proposals have major impact, both at sea and across the land, as the cable route is directed to the electricity substation at Bolney.  Our response to the current consultation will cover these overarching concerns:

  • Many important habitats and species have been undervalued or scoped out (deemed not to be a concern) too early from assessment. This is especially problematic when ecological surveys haven’t been finished yet.
  • Where the likely impacts have been assessed, the categories applied tend to underplay the true impacts. Many are wrongly listed as ‘not significant’ when we believe they will have a significant impact on wildlife.
  • Much more detail is needed on how RWE will minimise the environmental impacts and compensate for any damage caused. This should include monitoring and aftercare, with associated funding identified and secured for this. We want to see this set out in detail before the application proceeds any further, taking into account the lessons learned from past successes and failures of the Rampion 1 project. For example, we would like to see a Marine Mammals Monitoring Plan prior to consent, with RWE ensuring adequate funding to allow these surveys to take place.

On land, we are particularly concerned about the amount of hedgerow and woodland likely to be impacted, and the lack of information provided on mitigation, compensation and restoration to maintain, restore and enhance the ecological connectivity of the landscape. We are also concerned that vulnerable birds such as Nightingale and Turtle Dove have not been specifically considered. Nor have migrating non-seabirds that cross the impacted area each year.
 
Some of the habitat mitigation and restoration undertaken for Rampion 1 wasn’t completely successful. Information on successes and failures needs to be provided, so that we can be realistic about the environmental impacts of Rampion 2 and how long these will last. For example, it’s clear that there are still gaps in hedgerows created by the Rampion 1 cable route, as well as changes to soil structure.

At sea, we are concerned that not all appropriate data sources have been included in some of the desk-based baseline studies. Again, we are concerned that impacts on specific species have been underplayed, including seahorses, Herring and Black Sea Bream. It’s important that developments like Rampion 2 should not compromise the Sussex IFCA’s ability to maintain and promote sustainable fisheries and protection of the marine environment.
 
We know that many of you are really supportive of the Sussex Kelp Restoration Project and currently we do not think it has been given due consideration - especially given the high volume of responses raising concern for how this will interact with the development during the informal consultation earlier this year. This definitely needs to be addressed. Overall, we need much more information on the total long-term habitat loss of each habitat type, the length of loss and how this might change under different array/route options.  
 
Rampion 2 is a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project, so there is currently no national policy requirement for the project to deliver net gains to biodiversity i.e. leave wildlife in a better state then it was before the development. However, Sussex Wildlife Trust is pushing for net gains to be delivered here as an example of best practice, and what is urgently needed given the ecological emergency we are all facing. 
 
We have summarised our main concerns here but our full response will go into much more detail. The Wildlife Trust’s National Marine Energy team are working collaboratively with us so that we can make appropriate representation on a local and national level, applying our local knowledge as well as more universal expertise on offshore wind in UK waters.  
 
We would really encourage you to get involved in the consultation and have your say before the deadline of Thursday 16 September.  We hope that our observations here are helpful for your own responses. 

Comments

  • Emma Dawe:

    07 Sep 2021 14:02:00

    I’m not against the wind farm and what it stands for, but why bring the cables up through Climping beach, cut across Wiston and all the ancient woodland and wildlife there?!

  • Colin Edwards:

    07 Sep 2021 17:14:00

    The farm spoils the horizon that people who live by the sea look for. Industrilising the sea is not a good idea. The farm is huge as it is . There are no pluses to build it bigger other than profit. There are greener better ways to supply people with green electricity, we live in the sunniest area of the country .

  • Euan Carmichael:

    07 Sep 2021 18:40:00

    With the planned reinstatement planned of the kelp fields and some.of the areas of the beach being classified as ASSI’s all works should be planned ensuring that these delicate environments are un affected.

    The size of the wind farm will be vast and by design reduce the amount of fishing permitted in the area. This will benefit by producing a protected marine environment and also aid in carbon reduction which is still required as today coal fired power stations were re started overcoming peak demands.

    Does this now open up debate evaluating whether from the shore line to the wind farm should be protected waters allowing for small scale fishing only. This would also be great.

    It may scare the landscape and interupt significant areas but this is temporary so careful planning including possible measure to improve its impact should all be agreed prior to construction because some of these opportunities can ultimately work, long term, in our favour and we need it.

  • Garry Sparks:

    09 Sep 2021 10:22:00

    As the eyesore will be in view like Rampion 1, the electricity supplied should be for the county of Sussex !

  • Lynn Roberta Mason:

    09 Sep 2021 11:16:00

    Why are we not considering Wave power? If Turbines in the Thames can provide power to Windsor Castle and the vast majority of residents in Windsor and surrounding area why is it not possible on the Sussex coast line instead of these revolting eyesores.

  • Dr Richard Gray:

    09 Sep 2021 11:44:00

    The more, the merrier. Anything beats burning methane.

  • Joanna Murphy:

    09 Sep 2021 11:48:00

    I was horrified when I first saw the industrialised sea-scape looking out to sea from Chanctonbury Ring at the sheer forest of monstrous turbines out to sea at Brighton and Shoreham – I was really astonished that this had happened without consensus. We cannot ‘rob Peter to pay Paul’ by ruining one beautiful and time-honoured aspect of our lives to save another. There HAVE to be other ways – wave-power mentioned above, for example. These turbines are no better than the pylons which still scar stunning swathes of the British landscape and will do so for the forseeable future. Are we now to destroy our coastlines (more than we have already done with terrible post-war building) with the use of these inhuman turbines? A resounding no to doing this to our sea-scape.

  • Fred Dow:

    09 Sep 2021 12:21:00

    New technology shows that vertical turbines are more efficient and will not damage bird flight. Has this been investigated

  • Dr Dan Danahar:

    09 Sep 2021 13:30:00

    The SWT is right to express its concerns where environmental impact can be damaging but for the most part I see this second stage development as an overwhelming win for marine wildlife and improvements to the quality of our atmosphere.

  • John Bassendine:

    09 Sep 2021 13:41:00

    I agree with all the comments by Euan Carmichael, and those set out above in the SWT observations.

  • Keith Valentine:

    09 Sep 2021 13:57:00

    I am in favour of wind power but I had an interesting conversation with a Sussex coast fisherman today about the shortage of crabs for sale. He said surveys have shown abnormal movements of silt on the seabed in the area, believed to be caused by vibration from the wind generators.

  • Evangeline Rand:

    09 Sep 2021 14:28:00

    Introducing more eye-sores that harms animal life is no answer to our desperate problems of the violation of earth, Please let’s thing about waves energy.

  • Andy:

    09 Sep 2021 14:45:00

    I understand the dilemma between not disturbing the natural environment, and creating fuel less power sources. I think that the wind turbines do intrude on wildlife and the environment, with as yet unknown impact on wildlife. Before more are considered, a thorough investigation into disruption to local wildlife should be available to the public along with evidence of mitigation. The visible effects so far are gashes and scars across the downland landscape and the unattractive sea turbines. It may well be that developing technology may make the turbines obsolete not too far in the future, but by then it may be too late to repair the damage caused by Rampion. We should be pressuring for investment in alternatives.

  • Paul Daniel:

    09 Sep 2021 15:39:00

    Wind turbines are a very inefficient way of producing energy and when their full costs are taken into account, including maintenance, disposal, damage to local wildlife and visual impact, I think they are no better than existing fossil fuel arrangements. I am therefore against the construction of any new wind farms as there are better alternatives available.

  • Errol Tompkins:

    09 Sep 2021 16:20:00

    I like seeing the turbine blades turning. In general I would welcome an expansion. However, I do want the environmental considerations to be fully evaluated before any expansion takes place and for proper reinstatement and environmental improvement to be a firm part of the development.

  • John Wright:

    09 Sep 2021 16:53:00

    I fully support the plan to extend the wind farm – presumably those who oppose the plan are in favour of burning more oil, coal or adding to nuclear power stations!

  • Pat Wise:

    09 Sep 2021 17:00:00

    I am not very up on tech but to me everyone involved in this just wants to destroy nature. Mother Nature has more rights to this world as she was here before man! Stop destroying it!!!

  • Elaine Evans:

    09 Sep 2021 18:09:00

    I went to the zoom presentation for Greening ~Steyning. I live in Hove near the seafront and enjoy looking for the turbines when I take the bus to Brighton. They are quite tiny, not visible if the weather is hazy. Rampion 2 is further out to sea, not visible from land.

  • clive fennell:

    09 Sep 2021 20:01:00

    These new unbuilt and untried turbines are the size of the Eifle tower, directly in the path of swifts. martins and swallows on their migration every spring and autumn as well as billions of insects, butterflies and many other pollinators, this is a danger to them, also following the Arun along by Burpham this is where Bewick swans spend their winter, if it is destroyed even for one year this could be the end of the Bewick swans.

  • valerie Morris:

    10 Sep 2021 06:44:00

    I am not against wind farms in fact I think they are a good idea and necessary to reduce our carbon footprint. From my beach at Felpham I find they are pleasant to look at and have no objection to seeing them. However I do understand many of the problems and am glad the SWT is looking into it thoroughly on land and in the sea.

  • Dr John Gee:

    10 Sep 2021 09:08:00

    We can probably all agree that no landscape is enhanced by wind turbines and that any sort of construction will affect habitats. However, the enormity of the looming climate catastrophe demands action on all fronts. Let those that wish to avoid these ‘blots on the landscape’ first commit to travelling much less (even it’s by electric car), not flying at all, avoiding meat, spurning unnecessary food miles (e.g. fruit and meat from NZ, wines from SA and Oz), getting their houses up to A-grade energy efficiency and so on. There are no easy answers, but failing to address the question is certain to lead to disaster, not just for humankind but also for the natural world that we all treasure.

  • Christine Stacey:

    10 Sep 2021 11:31:00

    We are only just beginning to understand how the sea bed is crucial to the existence of humanity. Until there has been a long term examination of how the life of the sea bed is disturbed then no more turbines should be erected. Look at the destruction of coral reefs in places like the Maldives due to ramming pillars through it to put up holiday shacks. Plus I read a research project that said it was not windy enough to generate enough electricity to amortise the destruction caused by giant turbines.

  • Nick Powell:

    11 Sep 2021 16:54:00

    There are so many ways to fill out consultation surveys. This time the substance of my answers to RWE were as below…
    We are all in the battle against climate change together. The only way we will succeed is if we all work together to mitigate against nature loss and the impact of climate change. I applaud RWE’s move into renewable energy. As a highly profitable company who sets out a range of your own ideas for preserving nature and addressing climate change, you are in a unique position to make sure that your renewable wind farms not only provide clean energy, but also ensure that they have a highly positive net growth impact on biodiversity.
    You have the resources to catalogue and to be even more transparent about how you can make Sussex a better place for nature during Rampion 2. You are not yet fully bound by legislation to do so, but it would be a just and admirable step if you were to go beyond the call of regulatory confines and to decide to make a big impact on restoring nature in Sussex during the construction and running of Rampion 2, which without strong mitigating measures from you, runs the risk of causing significant damage to nature.
    I have read your consultation document which of course follows the guidelines you need to adhere to in order to assess the environmental impacts of your work, but it doesn’t provide enough detail. Unfortunately at this stage the document reads a little too intent on arguing that there are no significant effects when there are clearly a whole range of local organisations who have further questions that you appear not to be addressing in your initial assesment.
    I know you have consulted with them but it would be a far better process if you could work more closely in an open way with those local charities and organisations who are set up to preserve the ecosystems you are working in at sea and on land in Sussex. I note your thoughts on likely significant effects onshore on pages 77 and 78 which feel like a starting point and simply a minimal summary of what you could and should be doing. How about committing to large scale hedgerow, tree and grassland planting for example? And what about some positive measures to protect and develop marine life? There is much more you could do.
    I urge you to do the right thing and to shine a light on the pioneering work you could undertake and which you have hopefully already undertaken during Rampion 1.

  • Carole Jode:

    13 Sep 2021 07:47:00

    Wind turbines, heavy on concrete (not exactly ‘green’in the making) and rare earths (ditto) just mean that someone, somewhere is raking in loadsa money. And what’s the point, when other, larger countries are using coal etc? But this will get the go ahead anyway because it is in the current script of groupthink. . Cynical, moi?

  • david bangs:

    16 Sep 2021 16:10:00

    Jess,
    Thank you for flagging this up so well and so trenchantly.
    I’ve only just done my submission…by the skin of my teeth,
    phew!!!
    dave bangs

  • Gail Greaves:

    26 Oct 2021 09:49:00

    This plan is devastating for the environment, wildlife and sea health; we must all protest and make sure that big business, even those purporting to be green and environmentally sound, cannot simply expand and destroy the planet. Yes, we need green energy, but not at the expense of our wonderful world.

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