The consultation on which we have a chance to give our views on which site is chosen as part of the new Rampion 2 project is nearly at an end. The Parish Council formally agreed our response at our meeting last night following the presentation by Chris Tomlinson and Vaughan Weighill. Below are our responses to the questions in the consultation for information. If you would like to help support our residents living near the proposed site in Wineham Lane North please do submit a response before midnight tomorrow. The feed back form can be found in the ‘have your say’ section of www.Rampion2.com.
Q1. Neither agree or disagree.
Q2. The proposed turbines are too tall and will dominate the coastline. The location selected for the offshore element of the project is too close to the coastline and too close to the South Downs National Park. Without reducing the height of the turbines and/or moving the wind farm location further into the English Channel it is hard to see how these concerns can be mitigated.
Q3. The location proposed for the offshore wind farm is not acceptable because of the potential adverse impact the turbines will have on the coastline and the South Downs National Park. Your documents say the location cannot be moved further out to sea because of the shipping lanes and other constraints. The Parish Council would therefore suggest that this site is not an appropriate location for the Rampion 2 project and that the project should be located off an alternative and less populated coastline in the UK and away from any National Park.
Q4. We neither agree nor disagree.
Q5. There is already too much electrical infrastructure in the Wineham Lane area and therefore the proposed Wineham Lane North site is not an appropriate site for another substation. The new substation must be located away from the existing electrical infrastructure to protect the ecology and ancient historic landscape of the area, to protect the setting of the Listed Properties close to the site and to avoid unnecessary cumulative operational noise issues for residents.
Q6. Should the cable crossings across Wineham Lane require traffic lights or road closures, we would ask that these take place in the school holidays to avoid long diversions for school traffic. Further, if there needs to be multiple sets of lights along Wineham Lane for separate accesses and cable crossings, that these are timetabled to take place consecutively and not at the same time to avoid multiple traffic lights on a small section of the lane.
Q7. Although supportive of renewable energy projects, Bolney Parish Council is concerned that there is already too much electrical infrastructure in the Wineham Lane/Bob Lane area. The Parish Council is concerned that another renewable energy substation in the area will create a harmful cumulative effect on the character of the landscape in what is otherwise a rural agricultural area. It is also concerned that concentrating yet more electrical infrastructure in the area increases the potential threat of a terrorist attack on what will be a significant node in the Wineham Lane area.
Of the two site options proposed for the new Rampion 2 substation, the Parish Council does not consider that the Wineham Lane North site (which is within the Parish of Bolney) is a suitable option for the substation:1. The site has pylons and overhead power lines crossing the site and there are several high voltage underground cables underneath it;2. There are two Public Rights of Way and several ancient agricultural tracks across the site that can also be found on old maps;3. There are too many residential properties close to the site and four Grade 2 Heritage Assets within 400m of the site boundary. A substation would impact the setting of these heritage assets;4. Complaints have already been made by local residents about operational noise from the Rampion 1 substation. There is concern that another substation in the area will result in unacceptable cumulative noise for local residents.5. The site abuts Ancient Woodland to the north and there are several ancient hedgerows and areas of woodland across and around the site that can be identified on maps of the area going back several hundred years and which should be preserved;6. An ecological survey on the Wineham Lane site undertaken as part of the Rampion 1 project found that the site contained species-rich unimproved neutral grassland identified as having high ecological value and was awarded priority status under the UK and local BAPs as ‘Lowlands Meadows’. Indeed the survey concluded that the grassland within the site boundary represented the best example of UKBAP Priority Habitat – Lowland Meadows in the whole of the Rampion 1 onshore project survey area;7. There is planning permission for a 42 acre solar farm in the fields adjacent to the north andeast of the site, and there has been a recent application relating to a proposed battery storage project on the eastern field of the Wineham Lane North site.
The Wineham Lane North site was proposed as a potential site for the Rampion 1 substation but following its assessment, Rampion decided not to select it for that substation. It is hard to see how the same site can now be considered for Rampion 2 when the same physical, environmental and ecological constraints exist.
Bolney Parish Council is concerned about the location of the proposed temporary construction compound for Rampion in the Bolney area and that access to the Wineham Lane North site will need to be from Wineham Lane itself. This is a narrow, residential country lane with no road markings and several blind summits. At points it is hard for two small vehicles to pass each other, let alone construction traffic or HGVs. The lane is used by pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders, as well as local traffic, and multiple accesses requiring traffic lights on the lane will not be acceptable.
Although the lane was used for access during the Rampion 1 project, the Construction Traffic Management Plan included a holding area to avoid convoys of HGVs on Wineham Lane. The holding area land is now the subject of a redevelopment project and is no longer available. Without such a holding area, the Parish Council is concerned for the safety of residents living along Wineham Lane and for local road users.
The Parish Council considers that the alternative site identified by Rampion on Bolney Road/Kent Street and adjacent to Oakendene Industrial Estate in Cowfold would be a far more favourable option for the Rampion 2 substation. The site is located away from the National Grid substation and other electrical infrastructure and would therefore have less visual and landscape impact on the area and mitigate concerns regarding a terrorist attack. The A272 would provide a wider and safer access route to the potential site. The site has fewer residential properties close to it than the Wineham Lane North site and only one Listed Property, the owners of which also own the adjacent industrial Estate and have therefore already chosen to harm the setting of the Listed Property.
Regardless of which site is ultimately selected for the Rampion 2 substation, the Parish Council insists:
1. that a holding area for construction vehicles and HGVs is included in the Construction Traffic Management Plan, and that the Plan also identifies several roads in the Parish which are completely ‘out of bounds’ to construction traffic. These include the Bolney village roads, Colwood Lane, Foxhole Lane and Bolney Chapel Road;
2. that the Construction Hours for the project (both for construction of the substation and the construction works related to the underground connecting cable from Climping to the Wineham Lane area and from the new substation to the National Grid substation) mirror Mid Sussex District Council’s construction hours – that is 8am to 6pm Monday to Friday, 8am to 1pm on a Saturday and no construction at all on a Sunday or Public Holiday.
If the Wineham Lane North site is selected for the Rampion 2 substation, then the Parish Council requests that Rampion pay direct compensation to Bolney residents who are close to the site and are already living with the only above-ground structure for the whole of the Rampion 1 project. It is only right that these residents are compensated should Rampion select the Wineham Lane North site for the only above ground element of the Rampion 2 project as well.
In conclusion, Bolney Parish Council considers that the Wineham Lane North site is wholly unsuitable as a potential substation site and that of the two proposed sites, the Bolney Road/Kent Street site is that which would have least impact on the landscape, heritage assets and local properties and has the benefit of good and safer access for construction traffic.