Surfers are protesting against a proposed giant wind farm off the Sussex coast because they believe it will seriously affect their waves.

Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) say the plans for the offshore Rampion farm, which will stretch from Newhaven to Worthing, will reduce the height of the surf by 22%.

Energy company E.ON is planning to construct up to 195 turbines, which it says will generate enough electricity to supply the equivalent of 450,000 homes.

SAS director Hugh Tagholm said waves and surfing beaches should be recognised and protected as an important part of the UK coastal heritage.

He said: “We are not against the concept of sustainable green energy like this and we support it.

“However, we do have an issue about the potential loss of 22% of the surfing wave height at Brighton Marina and surf spots to the east of the city.

“These are some of the country’s most popular and well established surfing beaches.

“This potential reduction would be an unacceptable level to SAS and the local surfing community.

“The surf needs to be conserved and protected and we hope the developers will be able to come up with a solution that can help mitigate this potential loss. We are looking forward to meeting with the developers to address our concerns.”

The SAS is now calling on people to sign its national petition to fight against projects it believes could threaten surf conditions.

Meanwhile the South Downs Society has highlighted its concerns about E.ON’s plans to run eight miles of underground power cables across the South Downs National Park and the visual impact the wind turbines will have.

Chairman Robert Cheesman said E.ON would have to do a lot more work to reassure the community.

He said: “We support efforts to generate energy from renewable, “green” sources but we look at each case on its merits.

“Looking out from the Brighton seafront is one thing, the view from Beachy Head is quite another.

“We’re pleased that E.ON has opted for underground cables rather than overhead wires but we have yet to see a proper justification for the route they favour.”

The company is consulting with the public ahead of submitting a planning application.

A spokeswoman for E.ON said: “In the draft environmental statement for a project, we’re required to outline the worst case scenario in terms of the number and scale of turbines and foundations.

“However, the precise design and layout is yet to be determined.

“In this case the potential for a small reduction in wave height in this worst case of the largest number of wind turbines possible at the site with the largest and heaviest type of foundations (gravity base foundations).

“It is unlikely that this type of foundation would be used for all 195 turbines for the Rampion wind farm. In fact, monopile foundations and jacket foundations are the most typical in the UK and these designs have negligible impact on wave heights.

“We’ve already been in touch with Surfers Against Sewage and will be meeting with them in August to discuss in detail any concerns they have.”