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Charter boat skipper refused compensation for offshore wind farm and advised to become a tour guide

03.10.17

College Rocks Sept 17 x550px
Vessels laying cables last month at College Rocks, off Shoreham

Charter boat skipper Mark Vale of Sussex Fishing has had his application for modest compensation from Rampion Offshore Wind Limited refused for the disruption to his recreational angling business caused by the massive Rampion Wind Farm, under construction off the Sussex coast near Shoreham.


Instead, the company advised him, in a message delivered via his local MP Tim Laughton, to take advantage of the “opportunities and benefits” available to him in taking sightseers around the project.

Compensation has been paid by the developers to commercial fishing and dive boats but not to angling charter boats.

The first turbines were erected in April this year and the array has a target of generating 400 megawatts of commercial, sustainable energy. It is a project owned by a consortium comprising the UK Green Bank, Enbridge Limited and E.ON Climate and Renewables (UK) Limited.

Fish Legal, which made representations on Mr Vale’s behalf, submitted a complaint to the Information Commissioner after E.ON refused to supply environmental information in connection with this enquiry, following the ruling in Fish Legal v Information Commissioner & Others [2015] UKUT 0052 AAC. An Information Notice was subsequently served by the ICO which has been appealed by E.ON to the First Tier Tribunal (General Regulatory Chamber).

Mark Vale, proprietor of Sussex Fishing, said:

“The Rampion construction site is having a significant impact on the inshore areas I have traditionally fished and taken my customers to. Within the wind farm itself, there are numerous fishing marks and shipwrecks which in the course of a fishing season I would take my customers to. Again, because of construction activities and cables lying on the sea floor, this has not been possible. I do not believe it is too much to ask to be treated as fairly as commercial boats in the area and to receive the same recognition they have.”

Geoff Hardy, solicitor with Fish Legal, said:

“Rampion Offshore Wind Farm Limited, latterly through their lawyers, has made it clear they are unwilling to consider what they term ‘co-operation payments’ in Sussex Fishing’s case. It is plainly ridiculous for E.ON to suggest that our member should change his business from recreational fishing to becoming a tour boat for wind farm tourists. They should pay him reasonable compensation and stop refusing to provide environmental information, which both we and the Information Commissioner believe they are required to do by law.”

Contact: Fish Legal - Eastwood House | 6 Rainbow Street | Leominster | HR6 8DQ | Tel: 01568 620447

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