Arundel and South Downs MP Andrew Griffith spoke up for the many communities impacted by the cable route of the proposed Rampion 2 offshore windfarm. Speaking to the Examining Authority, chaired by Steven Rennie, on the first day of the Hearing (Tuesday 6th February), the MP spoke of the deep concerns held by thousands of residents all along the route of the ‘cable motorway’ between Climping and Cowfold, including Washington, Ashurst and Storrington.
The MP criticised the decision to hold the Hearing in Brighton when, as he stated, “none of the impacts are felt in Brighton but are wholly within a section of the South Downs nowhere near Brighton”.
Andrew Griffith continued by pointing out that there is a lack of alternatives presented by the Rampion planners which is a requirement in the examination of Nationally Important Infrastructure Projects. He had previously raised concerns directly with the Rampion 2 project team suggesting that their project would have far greater support and far less environmental and human impact if they used the existing cabling for the first windfarm.
The MP went on to highlight apparent failures in the consultation process, which he says had prevented some impacted communities from making detailed reports to show the harm to the environment, landscapes and traffic. Consultation feedback is vital for any project, but he fears that many did not respond because they simply did not know about the plans.
Andrew Griffith also made the point that the whole project has already caused considerable blight on villages, and burdened landowners and parish councils with additional costs from the need to employ professionals to support their feedback. Construction will take place over many years and require a wide corridor of operation as well as industrial compounds all along the 40 kilometre route. High quality farmland, chalk grassland and public amenities will be churned up for the cable excavation works.
The MP asked that the Planning Inspector gives the greatest consideration to the comments made by the South Downs National Park Authority (SDNPA) – who have given their clear objection to the plans. The MP said that their views should carry the greatest weight and be a stark warning about the damage the onshore cable route will inflict on a much-loved and precious National Park landscape. He pointed out that the National park Authority have given a statement about the “significant adverse harm the proposal would cause” and the “wholly inadequate mitigation and compensation” as reasons why they cannot support the Rampion 2 windfarm proposal.
Speaking after the Hearing, Andrew Griffith said:
“I was pleased to be able to tell the Rampion 2 Examining Authority just why this is the wrong location for the project, representing the views of so many people who have written to me all deeply concerned about the impact the cable motorway will have on small communities all along the planned route. This is just another part of a much bigger campaign to protect our green fields and precious landscapes from unwanted industrial damage.“
The Examination of the application will continue for the next six months, due to end on 6th August. A decision will be due early next year.