My column for West Sussex newspapers:
This week saw the close of the secondary public consultation on proposals to construct an Offshore Windfarm and Onshore Cable Corridor in West Sussex, also known as Rampion 2. A great number of residents across South Downs communities have written to me to express their concern about a “cable motorway” which would bisect a large swathe of our South Downs countryside, I have been clear in my views that there are better alternatives available and it is disappointing that so far the German windfarm developer has not taken them.
Like many others, I do support offshore wind and I am proud of the leading role the UK is taking in its adoption as part of our plans to transition to a low carbon economy. However, locations such as the Dogger Bank offer a more productive opportunity for offshore wind with a dedicated offshore grid to transport the electricity. Expansion in the North Sea would mean we avoid unnecessary damage to the environment across the South Downs in communities such as Burpham, Sullington, Washington, Oakedene and Cowfold. The impact will be particularly felt during the years long construction phase where a motorway like earth ‘scar’ will slice through the Downs. And compounds, vehicle parks and spoil sites will also inflict light and noise pollution on residents. I have submitted my response to the consultation - joint my voice to those of residents - and I do hope that the developers listen.
I was pleased to recently visit the Greenpower Education Trust which is based in my constituency to hear more about the national work the charity is doing to address Science, Technology, Engineering and Math skills gap. The team generate excitement in schools up and down the country by working with students to build and race electric cars. Greenpower has attracted international sponsors – from Siemens to Ford. It is excellent to see local organisations backing the crucial skills that the next generation need to secure high-skilled, high-wage jobs.