Rampion improvements, but are they enough?

This week, E.ON has been sending out letters outlining the changes to its Rampion wind farm proposals and how people can continue to be involved with the process.

The good news is that E.ON has listened to concerns about the impact of the proposals on the Heritage Coast.  To address this they have reduced the size of the maximum area of the wind farm by 24% (mainly in the east) and the maximum number of turbines has been reduced to 175.  Most importantly, the field of view of the wind farm from the Heritage Coast has reduced by over a third, from 31 degrees to 20 degrees.

E.ON has also made changes in the marine area to reduce the impact on fishing, shipping, marine ecology and the wave climate (for surfers).

Onshore, there are some minor tweaks to the underground cable route and its installation but it is still taking a very long route through the South Downs National Park.  E.ON has also committed to develop a communications strategy so people will be aware of any closures or diversions to rights of way.

Whether these measures overcome various concerns remains to be seen and further improvements might still be possible, particularly with regard to the impact on the Heritage Coast, if E.ON is able to provide a capacity of 700 MW without using the full area.

For now, people have until 11 May, 2013 to register their interest with the Planning Inspectorate if they wish to comment on the application.  They can also view the application documents online or at various local locations.

Tribute to Paul Millmore

Paul at the start of the South Downs Way

As many people know, Paul Millmore passed away peacefully on Sunday morning.  A tragic loss for his family, but also for the many people whose lives he touched throughout his career. For anyone who knew him, he was a veritable force of nature with his bushy beard, red braces and indefatigable Yorkshire spirit.  He was passionate, imaginative and determined in furthering conservation and didn’t suffer fools gladly.

He was one of the first people to reignite the calls for a South Downs National Park in the 1980s and was a stalwart member of the South Downs Campaign throughout its 20 year existence.  He lived to see the successful creation of the National Park and it was his drive and energy that was largely responsible for the inclusion of Lewes.  No one who was at the inquiry can forget the look on the inspector’s face as Paul thrust a large knife into a block of clay to demonstrate how well Lewes was embedded within the South Downs’ landscape.

His one regret was the failure to get the marine area included in the National Park, but even then he convinced the inspector of the value of doing so, but unfortunately not the Government.  Even so this setback was far outweighed by the success of the National Park and the many other areas he helped to change for the better.  From the tributes that have poured in to date, it is clear that his spirit will live on and his legacy will be felt for many generations to come.

In the meantime the South Downs Network has lost a valued member of its executive and a true friend and supporter.  Our thoughts are with his family at this difficult time.