6:00 a.m. on December 1, 2021
More than 80 towns and villages in Norfolk have joined forces to ask the Energy Secretary to deny permission to build what would be the world’s largest offshore wind farm.
Their intervention comes a few days before a decision on the first of the wind farms is due.
Swedish energy giant Vattenfall plans to build two massive offshore wind farms off the Norfolk coast, Boreas and Vanguard, which alone will provide enough renewable electricity for nearly four million homes.
However, connecting the electricity generated by the turbines to the national grid will require 60 kilometers of underground cables dug in a trench up to 80 meters wide, running from Happisburgh on the coast to a new substation at Necton.
To further complicate the situation for the thousands of residents who will be affected by the works, plans for a north-south cable corridor to bring electricity to shore from another wind farm called Hornsea Three. These power lines will start at Weybourne in northern Norfolk and run south to Swardeston.
But in a letter, the Norfolk Parish Movement for an Offshore Transmission Network (OTN) calls on the government to move beyond “stone age” technology that requires miles of trenches and cables on land and on land. instead of connecting wind farms off the coast, something that wind farm companies say is not yet possible and would take years to implement.
Vattenfall says this will “minimize” impacts on residents and wildlife and says the technology to connect at sea is not yet viable. He also points out that the farms will bring investment to the region with a £ 15million pot for community projects announced last week.
He also says an offshore grid would be impossible for his Vanguard project because the technology is too early in the design stage for a project that has been underway for ten years.
Catrin Ellis Jones, Head of Stakeholder Management at Vattenfall, said: “The Vanguard and Boreas wind farms will use the most innovative technology available to bring electricity to shore and minimize the impact on the environment.
“We are very confident in our proposals. We have gone beyond the requirements set out in the authorization process and we also have a clear plan in place to maximize the benefits of the projects for the region.
“The Norfolk area of Vattenfall will be the largest offshore area in the world when built, providing renewable electricity to nearly four million homes.”
In a letter to Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Kwasi Kwarteng, the Norfolk Parish Movement for an OTN wrote: “There are many cumulative impacts of these two sister projects. [Vanguard and Boreas] which to this day remain unresolved, including… the punitive impacts of construction traffic for many years… the unpredictable effects on the eroded cliffs at the landing site… and the massive intrusion into the rural landscape of the huge halls of conversion and associated infrastructure at Necton.
The letter, written by Oulton Parish Councilor and Norfolk Parish Movement President Alison Shaw, also cites a lack of efforts to mitigate impacts to bird life ashore.
Cities and parishes insist that they are not opposed to wind farms but to disturbance on land.
The letter said: “The difficulty arises with … the hundreds of kilometers of crossing cable trenches, the endless years of heavy goods traffic along the country roads often not wide enough for the school bus to pass a distance. cycling … and an unnecessary legacy of over 1,000 acres of farmland damaged by drains. “
The group wants the energy cables to be connected at sea, associated with other offshore projects, in order to minimize disturbances on land.
A Planning Inspectorate decision on Boreas is expected by December 10, while the decision on Vanguard is expected later this month, after a surprise delay in February when activist Raymond Pearce of Reepham won. a case in the High Court challenging the planning process.
The judge ruled that the cumulative impacts of the plans had not been properly assessed.
The letter urges the Secretary of State to withhold consent to the development of Project Boreas and Project Vanguard in their current form.
Alternatively, they propose that the Secretary of State could give the green light to construction at sea but postpone a decision regarding work on land, or postpone the whole decision.
The 85 Signatories
Aylsham Town Council
Barford with Wramplingham PC
Barnham’s Broom PC
Beeston Regis PC
Booton parish meeting
Brampton with Oxnead PC
Brandiston Parish Meeting
Burnham Market PC
PC Burnham Overy
PC Burnham Thorpe
Chateau Acre PC
Corpusty and Saxthorpe PC
East Ruston PC
Field Dalling and Saxlingham PC
Garvestone, Reymerston and Thuxton PC
Super PC Melton
PC herb room
Gunthorpe with Bale PC
PC half closed
Haveringland parish meeting
Heydon Parish Meeting
High temperature PC
Holme Hale PC
Small PC that snores
North Runcton PC
Reepham City Council
Shelton with Hardwick PC
Sprowston City Council
Stockton Parish Meeting
Swannington, with Alderford and Lieutenant Witchingham PC
Weston Longville PC
Wiggenhall St. Germans PC
Wood Dalling PC
and the independent group of 15 advisers on West Norfolk & King’s Lynn Borough Council