The Application for a Development Consent Order (DCO) for the controversial £3bn+
Rampion 2 proposal that would transform the natural Sussex coast inshore into a highly
visible industrial power park was accepted for Examination by the Planning Inspectorate
(PINS) on 7 September 2023.
The Application sets out commercial plans of the German multinational (RWE) for a 1,200
MW capacity scheme consisting of up to 90 large wind turbines up to 325m (1066 feet)
above the sea at low tide (higher than the 310m London Shard building) on steel towers
driven into the seabed stretching over 50 miles (80km) along the Sussex Bay inshore from
east of Brighton to west of Bognor Regis.
Associated infrastructure would include hundreds of miles of array cabling cut into the
seabed, a power export cable landing at Clymping, and over 22 miles (35 km) of buried cable
routed through the South Downs National Park to connect to a new substation at
Oakendene, Cowfold, 1.8 miles (2.9 km) from the Bolney National grid Substation.
PCS spokespersons said:
“The sheer scale of the Rampion 2 scheme in environmentally sensitive inshore waters with a
cleared transmission right-of-way through a National Park will disrupt and permanently
degrade ecosystems in the sea, on the land and in the air, both during construction and
operation. It will make them less resilient and even more vulnerable to long-term climate
change. In human terms, it will substantially degrade intrinsic values of the natural
seascape and landscape impacting on the wellbeing of many.”2
Previously during statutory public consultations on the developer’s proposal, Nick Gibb, MP
for Bognor Regis and Littlehampton said:
“I support the Government’s aim for the UK to be a world leader in renewable energy and
the Government’s ambitious programme to tackle climate change, but this stretch of the
West Sussex coastline is an inappropriate location for such a large wind farm. The English
Channel is too narrow to enable the turbines to be positioned far enough out to sea to be
acceptable. This proposal does not, therefore, comply with the Government’s
recommendations for offshore wind farms of this size”.
Andrew Griffith, MP for Arundel and South Downs describes the new cable route as a,
“cable motorway”- through communities within the Arun and Horsham districts, and across
the South Downs National Park protected landscape. Its construction phase alone is
expected to disrupt households and businesses in West Sussex for many years.” 1
Acceptance of Rampion 2 for Examination triggers the pre-Examination stage of the DCO
process run by central Government. A Panel of 3-4 Planning inspectors will be appointed to
conduct a 6-month Examination. PCS and affiliates are preparing Relevant Representations
to better inform this Examination and will register as Interested Parties (IPs) to participate.
There are no further public consultations before a decision is taken on Rampion 2, apart
from topic-specific Public Hearings for individuals and organisations who formally register as
Interested Parties. They can make representations to the Panel and comment on
representations of others and the Applicant’s proposal documents.
Core values and key concerns:
At the heart of growing local community concerns about the Rampion 2 Application are:
– Rampion 2 would undermine rather than advance the achievement of sustainable
development on the south coast and affected inland areas due to the nature, sheer scale
and location-specific significance of impacts;
– The adverse impacts of Rampion 2 would demonstrably outweigh the benefits for both
current and future generations of residents and visitors – as well as wider society;
– The location does not respect the Government’s own strategic environmental advice on
where to put exceptionally large turbines to avoid unwarranted multiple social,
environmental and economic harms in coastal areas; and
– Reasonable alternatives offer better value for money and do far more than Rampion 2
across all policy metrics to deliver energy security with reliable, affordable low-emission
electricity supply, and to decarbonise the power sector by 2035.
Reasonable alternatives otherwise compete for the £3bn+ investment that Rampion 2
requires, and not all windfarms are the same in respect to benefit-risk tradeoffs.
We fully appreciate that people – with good intentions at heart – in our communities would
support a commercial application to install wind turbines – anywhere, at any cost to the
environment, without the facts and therefore the wellbeing of others. If it ticks the Green
Box it cannot be refused!
Other informed residents see the impacts of Rampion 2 will be so substantial and
transformative, even to the point they will reconsider living in the area.
PCS argues that we must sensibly prioritise and develop the most efficient wind projects,
those which are truly offshore in the best wind regimes and preferably connected to an
offshore ring grid. Wind power can then play its optimal role in our generation mix and
climate strategy – not divide and disrupt communities.
To communicate these concerns clearly with relevant argument and hard evidence,
community organisations affiliating with Protect Coastal Sussex (PCS) are collaborating in
preparing three mutually supporting Representations for the Examination, namely:
1. A Local Impact Assessment (LIR): A community-led LIR to set out how we see Rampion 2
will impact current and future residents, area visitors, the environment and our natural
capital. We aim to better inform consideration of this Application with local voice,
knowledge and experience, as well as the statutory LIRs prepared by external consultants
who may be engaged by Arun District Council and West Sussex County Council.
2. A due diligence representation on benefit-risk tradeoffs: To fact-check the credibility of
uncontested and highly significant claims the developer has made as the single-source of
information to date on the performance, benefits and impact of Rampion 2, and
3. A Representation on Reasonable Alternatives: To support the consideration of
reasonable alternatives in the examination of Rampion 2, as triggered by provisions in
national policy statements on ways to better spend £3+ billion on clean, low-emission
generation and reduce the upward pressure on electricity bills.
We encourage all south coast and Sussex residents interested in speaking out for genuine
environmental stewardship and sustainable development to register as Interested Parties
when the registration period for the Rampion 2 Examination opens, likely this autumn. That
will be advertised in local media.
Go to the Planning Inspectorate website for information now and sign up for updates.
Please also visit the PCS website for further information on the progress of these
representations and how you may contribute your voice.
The Middleton on Sea Coastal Alliance (MOSCA), and The Littlehampton Society (TLS) and all
those affiliated with PCS as individuals and organisations seek to ensure the best balance
and outcome for people and the environment – and a re-alignment with reality.
Protect Coastal Sussex
On behalf of PCS Co-Chairs
Chris Lee, Aldwick
Melanie Jones, Middleton on Sea
Lawrence Haas, Littlehampton
Meera Smethurst, Cowfold