Herald column August 16th 2018

One of the projects I have been catching up with over the recess has been the Rampion wind farm and I was delighted to go to see it at first hand together with my Lewes colleague Maria Caulfield. The project is nearly completed and final work is going on with the cabling both offshore and onshore. All 116 turbines are now operative and generating power and within the next few months rampion should be at full capacity capable of powering over half the households throughout the whole of Sussex.

It is a tremendous achievement and you really appreciate the magnitude of the wind farm not only close up docked on one of the pillars but back in the hi-tech control room at Newhaven where they can predict any faults and schedule maintenance during fine weather to maximise the output. Unlike some I don’t find the appearance of the turbines objectionable and much better 8 miles out to see than littering the Downs.

Later on I visited Lychpole Farm in the far flung reaches of Sompting as part of the NFU campaign to promote the importance of farming and getting subsidies right post-Brexit. It is always a pleasure to visit this beautiful spot just off the South Downs Way and we also teamed up with Alan Johnson from the RSPB to go in search of Yellowhammers as I have been made the MP Species Champion for this bright yellow farmland bird. Apparently the Yellowhammer is renowned for its singing all day long but despite this and its bright coloured plumage we searched high and low in vain.

We were assured by farmer Caroline Harriott that they are usually around in abundance but just not for me! But it was good to see how much birdlife is thriving on the Downs helped by the environmentally friendly practices followed by Caroline. It is essential that as we leave the Common Agricultural Policy our own approach to agriculture is based on sustainable and sympathetic management of the land whilst producing many more things that we have almost forgotten how to grow thereby cutting down on ‘food miles.’

On my website I have put details of the ‘Best Small Shop’ competition being run by Parliament and would welcome your nominations for your favourite shop in East Worthing & Shoreham. You can also download a poster advertising my Pensioners Fair on September 7th and I would be grateful if constituents could advertise this as widely as possible to anyone who may be interested in coming along.