There are significant plans being put forward by RWE for the expansion of the Rampion offshore windfarm with an associated onshore cable corridor and a new electricity sub-station.
I am keen to hear from residents on all aspects of this scheme. You can use this page to give me your views and to stay in touch with the latest information which has been shared with me.
A formal public consultation will open this year and I will be submitting a full response raising concerns on behalf of those constituents who have contacted me. I also plan to hold a real or ‘virtual’ roundtable meeting on the subject before making my submission.
Onshore Cable Corridor
The proposed Onshore Cable Corridor impacts a large swath of countryside and communities in the constituency of Arundel and South Downs. You can see a map of the affected areas here (slides 24 to 28). The proposed route effectively cuts the South Downs National Park into two and directly affects at least twelve Parishes from the south west to the north east with Arundel and South Downs.
Residents may share my concern about the environmental impact on some of our last remaining unspoiled countryside with the proposed route cutting through many ancient habitats and heritage sites on the South Downs. The promoters of the scheme have identified some alternatives which may be less environmentally damaging but at the moment the proposed route their favoured route.
The construction process may take many years, during which residents may face disruption.
RWE first briefed me of their plans (part of their ‘pre-consultation’ process) on Tuesday 10th November 2020 when I made clear to them in particular that I would like to understand the reasoning for the onshore cable corridor they propose and why they would not make use of the much shorter and more direct existing cable corridor which comes ashore at Lancing. This was followed up by a second meeting at my request with some of their engineers that was dedicated to this subject on Wednesday 16th December 2020. Having already heard from some residents on this aspect, I formally registered my concern about the proposed route on each occasion.
Offshore Wind Turbines
Residents may be familiar with the views of the existing Rampion wind farm which is visible in the distance from some elevated parts of the South Downs in my constituency. Rampion 2 is much larger in area and the proposed turbines are higher with larger blades.
A new Rampion 2 onshore substation is required to transform the power from the wind farm up to the required voltage (400kV) in order to connect to the national transmission grid at Bolney.
Three alternative sites for the new substation have been put forward. Two of these are adjacent to the existing substation on Wineham Lane and the third alternative site is off the A272 at the junction of Bolney Road and Kent Street in the Cowfold parish.
Although Members of Parliament do not have any role in determining planning applications and are not statutory consultees on this aspect of the scheme, I would like to hear the views of local residents and will ensure that these are passed on to the planning authorities, Rampion 2 and local councillors.
Process and timetable
A Formal public consultation on detailed proposals will take place in mid-2021. This will then inform a set of final proposals which will form the basis of the Rampion 2 development consent application which the promoters of the scheme say they plan to be submitted to the Government late in 2021.
If consent is awarded, my understanding is that construction would begin 2025/26 at the earliest with the project being completed and operational around the year 2030.
RAMPION 2 CONSULTATION UPDATE: RWE have announced that a Formal Public Consultation period will be held from 14th July to 16th September. RWE have released a Statement of Community Consultation which outlines the consultation process in more detail - you can read that statement here.