Communicating the South Downs

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Rampion Offshore Wind Farm FAQs

As part of their installation for the Rampion Offshore Wind Farm, E.ON will run 14km of cabling through the South Downs National Park to connect the wind farm with the National Grid at Bolney Substation.

Map showing route of Rampion cable through South Downs National Park

Frequently Asked Questions

These FAQs relate to the South Downs National Park’s role in:

  1. monitoring E.ON’s work on the section of cabling running through the South Downs National Park; and
  2. restoration and enhancement of this area once cabling has been completed

For all other questions, comments and information about the Rampion Offshore Wind Farm and its construction please contact E.ON on:

  • freephone 0800 2800 886, from 09.00 to 17.00 Monday to Friday
  • email to rampion@eon.com
  • visiting their website

Why are E.ON putting a cable through the National Park?

E.ON have been granted permission by the Government to construct up to 175 wind turbines off the Sussex Coast with a connection to the National Grid running 14km through the Adur Valley in the South Downs National Park to a new substation at Bolney. The application was classed as a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project and was therefore assessed by the Planning Inspectorate with a final decision taken by the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change.

Did the SDNPA have any influence over this decision?

The SDNPA was a consultee in the Planning Inspectorate process, attending eleven days of hearings and submitting more than 270 pages of evidence. We worked proactively to assist the examination panel in reaching an informed judgement of the impact it would have on the National Park and how these might be mitigated.

Read the final response to the Rampion consultation from the SDNPA (summary)

We were in conversation with E.ON from very early on in the process and, as a result, were able to secure some concessions including:

  • the number of turbines was reduced from 195 to a maximum of 175 (the final number will now be 116) reducing the visual impact from onshore and the disturbance to marine habitats;
  • the exclusion zone to restrict turbines closest to the Heritage Coast;
  • changes to the construction process to reduce impact on archaeology, ecology, landscape and those visiting the National Park.

We were disappointed that E.ON did not fully mitigate the impact of the Rampion Offshore Wind Farm on the South Downs – for example by taking the shortest possible route through the National Park – but we will be working closely with them to get the best possible result for the National Park.

Will there be any compensation for this?

Recognising the benefits of renewable energy we worked closely with Natural England and E.ON to get the protected landscapes of the National Park, including the UK’s first designated Heritage Coast, taken into account in their proposals. The Secretary of State recognised our work and the importance of our landscapes by agreeing to a package of mitigation measures to reduce the impact on both land and people. This includes monitoring the burial of 14km of cabling through the National Park and restoration of this area once work has finished. Money will also be available for projects to enhance the landscape, biodiversity and access in the area.

The Secretary of State required E.ON to support further mitigation and monitoring through more than £350,000 payment (£242,500 for mitigation and £116,000 for monitoring) to the South Downs NPA. This is in addition to built in mitigation which will be delivered by E.ON.

What’s the timetable for work in the National Park?

The works will take place over two summers starting in July 2015 with laying of the ducts for the cables and drilling under the River Adur. The second phase in 2016 will involve pulling the cable through the ducts in preparation for the first turbines becoming operational in early 2017.

How will the SDNPA be monitoring the construction work through the National Park?

We have a dedicated Monitoring Officer who will coordinate staff and expert consultants to keep a watching brief on works as they progress -ensuring compliance with planning conditions and appropriate restoration.

Will my access to the National Park be affected? How will this be mitigated?

The South Downs Way (SDW) will be affected but will remain accessible at all times. Where the cable route cuts across the SDW manned ‘stop and go’ boards and trench boards will allow access for SDW users.

There will be temporary closures on other Rights of Way but diversions will be available and sign posted, however, where the route of the cable runs through designated Access Land, rights to walk on these areas will be temporarily suspended and areas fenced-off during the works.

Information on Rights of Way which may be affected during construction and advance notification of closures can be found on the Public Rights of Way page on the E.ON website.

Will the National Park’s wildlife be affected? How will this be mitigated?

The scheme will pass through some national priority habitats such as chalk grassland and hedgerows, and may affect species such as reptiles, bats, badgers and dormice. Special measures will be put in place for protected species via the consenting process with Natural England. Where priority habitats are affected we will ensure that these habitats are restored to their previous condition as far as possible and that robust monitoring is in place to assess the long-term impact on biodiversity.

Will the National Park’s archaeology be affected? How will this be mitigated?

The only Scheduled Monument in the works area is Tottington Mount. Historic England are responsible for working with E.ON on this and the cableway route at this point has been selected to only disturb areas that are already damaged.

The cable route through Tottington Mount and other parts of the National Park has been sampled by archaeologists prior to work starting and E.ON have submitted a statement of on what and how their archaeologists will work – both before and during construction. We have discussed this “Written Statement of Investigation” (WSI) with E.ON and highlighted the probability that unexpected archaeology may be revealed. As a result it also states how they will deal with any discoveries – for example how the information is shared with the community and expert groups.

How will the area be restored and enhanced once cabling has been completed?

Under the conditions of planning permission for the windfarm the contractors are required to restore all areas to their previous condition. The SDNPA has been granted £242,500 in additional mitigation funding to enhance and improve areas along the route once work is finished in line with our Purposes & Duty. We will publish more information about mitigation projects as they develop.

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