United Kingdom

United Kingdom

Rampion enters final planning hearings

UK: A next series of planning hearings have started, covering the environmental, economic and social impact of E.on's planned 700MW Rampion offshore wind farm, off England's south coast.

Proposed development of E.on's 700MW Rampion offshore wind site
Proposed development of E.on's 700MW Rampion offshore wind site

The hearings carried out by the Planning Inspectorate's examining authority are taking place from 30 October to 7 November and concern biodiversity, biological environment and ecology issues.

They also include issues related to landscape, seascape, visual and socio-economic impacts, and on commercial fishing and consenting and permitting.

Further issue specific and compulsory purchase hearings will continue until 6 December with examinations scheduled to close on 18 January 2014.

After that the examining authority has three months to write their report, with any recommendations, to the the Department of Energy and Climate Change's secretary of state, who has three months to make a decision on the application.

E.on originally submitted its application in mid-December 2012, but had to withdraw it in January, after it was discovered some local authorities in East Sussex had not been fully consulted.

Resubmission of the development consent order application to the Planning Inspectorate was completed on 1 March, after E.on completed additional consultation with local authorities.

It was accepted for examination by the secretary of state for communities and local government on 25 March.

Following E.on’s consultations, they made a number of changes including a reduction in the area of the offshore wind site by 24%, from 167 square kilometres to 139. They lowered the maximum number of turbines by 20, to a maximum of 175, while maintaining the installed capacity of 700MW

The turbine layout was altered in response to local surfers’ concerns that the original layout would reduce wave heights excessively.

A final decision on whether consent will be granted is anticipated to be in June 2014.

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