Surfers are claiming victory after an energy company agreed to change its plans for a giant wind farm off the Sussex coast.

Surfers Against Sewage (SAD) had been upset by E.ON’s plans for the Rampion offshore plant that would stretch from Worthing to Newhaven.

The group was concerned wave height could reduce by up to a quarter for surfing beaches in and around Brighton as a result of the renewable energy development.

It entered into discussions with the German company, getting Brighton businesses and surfers to explain why the issue was so important.

SAS also provided comprehensive data relating to potentially affected sites of “special surfing interest” along the south coast and made recommendations on how to minimise impacts on these unique and important resources.

E.ON’s engineering team has now revised the project with new models, projecting a maximum loss to local wave height at three per cent, according to the campaigners.

Fewer and larger

SAS claims the number of turbines has been reduced with fewer, but bigger, ones more spread out.

E.ON had initially planned for up to 195 turbines, but last night refused to reveal how it had altered its scheme.

Dave Samuel, a local surfer and the director of Brighton’s Paddle Round The Pier, the world’s biggest free beach and water sports festival, said: “We’re all very grateful to Surfers against Sewage for ensuring the water sports community was represented and the valuable surf that Brighton enjoys is safeguarded for this and future generations.”

SAS campaign director Andy Cummins said: “After some urgent intervention from SAS, there is a win-win solution for the south coast, protecting surf resources and delivering green energy.

“The current proposal won’t impact on the finite surfing resources the region enjoys and should provide a significant amount of sustainable, renewable energy.

“We will continue to encourage offshore developers to consult the entire community and make special efforts with hard to reach sectors.”

An E.ON spokesman said: “Following the public consultations carried out earlier this year, we’ve taken into account feedback received from the local community.

“We’re currently finalising our application and will shortly release details of the changes arising.”

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