South Downs sea views to be spoilt by wind farms

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South Downs sea views to be spoilt by wind farms
South Downs sea views to be spoilt by wind farms

These views from the Sussex coast have remained unchanged for millions of years - but instead of beautiful sea views, visitors could soon be faced with the sight of nearly 200 wind turbines.

Ministers have approved plans to build the first wind farm off the south coast of England, despite massive opposition.

National Trust and South Downs National Park Authority have both opposed plans for the Rampion wind farm, arguing that views from coastal spots will be "unacceptably" spoilt by the 175 turbines, each up to 689 feet tall.

Energy secretary gave the go-ahead for the wind farm to be built nine miles out to sea, citing the "urgent national need for such projects", reports the Telegraph.

He added that the amount of renewable energy the project would produce is enough to power approximately 450,000 homes and outweighed the "potential adverse local impacts".

Construction of the £2bn wind farm by E.On is due to start next year and could be finished by 2018.

The development is part of the Government's drive to hit green energy targets.

According to the Renewable Energy Foundation, the project could receive about £200m a year in subsidies.

Opponents argue that the view from landmarks such as Beachy Head and the Seven Sisters cliffs, and towns including Brighton and Eastbourne, will be spoiled for ever, reports the Daily Mail.

The turbines will be just 8-9 miles away from Brighton and Worthing.

In a letter to the Government's planning inspectorate, the National Trust said: 'The beauty of the coastline matters to the nation.

"The impact of the proposal on the designated assets of the National Park and heritage coast, on the landscape and seascape character of the area, on important visual receptors and on key National Trust sites is considered to be major."

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, reports the Telegraph.

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, she said.

What do you think of these plans? Give us your opinions below!

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