South Downs sea views to be ‘unacceptably’ spoilt by giant wind farm
The £2bn project could be finished by 2018 and would be in line to receive
about £200m a year in subsidies, according to the Renewable Energy
The turbines, which will stand up to 689 feet tall, will be most visible from
the seafronts at Brighton and Worthing, from which they will be just 8-9
Fragile chalk grassland environments will be dug up in order to lay 17 miles
of onshore power cables, half of which will run through the National Park.
The South Downs National Park Authority (SDNPA) had urged Mr Davey to reject
the application, saying the turbines would have “detrimental and
unacceptable impact” on the Sussex Heritage Coast and National Park, while
the cabling would have an “irreversible detrimental impact” to an area of
Cliffs at Beachy Head, East Sussex (Rex)
Trevor Beattie, chief executive of SDNPA, said the turbines would appear as “a
band on the horizon” and be visible from about a third of the downland of
the National Park.
He told The Telegraph: “There will be 14km of cable going straight through the
rare chalk grassland of the National Park. It is a rarer habitat than Amazon
The rare Duke of Burgundy butterfly is among the species that could be
affected by the cabling, which will involve a 30 metre-wide corridor of
disruption, with a 12m-wide trench and vehicle access alongside, leaving “a
big scar on the landscape”, Mr Beattie said.
E.On has agreed to minimise the disruption and restore the landscape but “how
long the scar will take to repair itself we don’t know”, Mr Beattie said.
The National Trust had also urged ministers to reject the project, raising
“serious concerns” about its impact.
“We do not support proposals that would seriously damage the beauty of our
coastline,” it said in a submission to the planning inspectorate.
Jane Cecil, National Trust general manager for South Downs, said it remained
concerned about the “major potential impact of the proposals on Birling Gap,
Seven Sisters and the Heritage Coast within the National Park”.
Michael Cloake, Conservative councillor for Worthing Pier, said there had been
strong local opposition. “Being a seaside resort, the view of the sea is
very important to a lot of our residents. I’ve had an awful lot more
residents come to me and say they are opposed than are for it.
“I think it will be spoiling the view from what is otherwise quite a wonderful
seaside town. No longer will we have a beautiful sea horizon, we will have
these hulking great monoliths on the horizon.”
A spokesman for E.On said: “Concerns around the project’s visual impact…
[were] one of the main concerns highlighted through the consultation. E.On
worked to reduce the wind farm area by almost a quarter of the area
consulted upon and to around half that originally awarded by The Crown
Estate in January 2010.”
The company had also made modifications to reduce the impact of the cabling,