Please Take Action Now
It’s time to keep the pressure on and again write to the people who are pivotal for future decisions, alerting the new DESNZ Secretary of State, Prime Minister and Therese Coffey MP to our presence, continued resistance, rejection of current plans, and proposals for better solutions. Please find TEMPLATE LETTERS for the Ministers and Therese Coffey HERE, with the template letter to DESNZ Secretary of State Claire Coutinho also below.
PLEASE WRITE TO:
Letters should be sent to: Claire Coutinho MP, Secretary of State, Department for Energy Security & Net Zero (DESNZ), 1 Victoria Street, London SW1H 0ET
Emails should be sent to: Claire Coutinho MP at Secretary.State@energysecurity.gov.uk and also CC’d/copied to other key figures as per the list below (copy this list straight into the cc: field) and BCC’d/blind-copied to firstname.lastname@example.org
Suggested LETTER text below. Please try to use your own words which will make your letter more powerful and authentic.
LETTER TEXT BELOW PLEASE WRITE NOW
Secretary of State
Department of Energy Security and Net Zero
Dear Secretary of State,
Re: Offshore Transmission Network Design
As a resident of East Anglia, I am writing to protest in the strongest terms to current ill-conceived plans, to create an onshore Energy Superhub in the Suffolk Coastal area of Friston. Current plans (including Sizewell C) would involve 6 NSIP projects within five square miles, in an area with inadequate road infrastructure, and the cumulative impact of multiple projects would effectively industrialise the Heritage Coast (AONB, SSSIs, SPA and RAMSAR) and decimate the local nature-tourism reliant economy.
This power will not be used on the Suffolk Coast or in East Anglia, the infrastructure will plough through our countryside in order to power London and the South East. I am in favour of offshore wind power, but there is an appalling lack of joined-up thinking about offshore network design and onshore infrastructure, and I have felt compelled to add my voice to the rising opposition from across the political spectrum.
The Cost-Effective Solution – Follow Offshore Grid Principles
Following these principles is cheaper, saving billions for British consumers, giving energy security and it is better for the environment and communities.
- Pool energy offshore to give asset cost efficiencies saving billions
- Transport energy from where it’s generated closer to demand offshore, thereby reducing grid-related constraint costs and the need to use fossil fuel power generated closer to demand as backup
- Transporting energy offshore also leads to accelerated planning permissions, with associated cost savings on route permissions/compulsory purchases
- Use Brownfield onshore locations for significant additional benefits, it gives speedier planning permissions, the opportunity for local economic regeneration and avoids cumulative negative impacts for the environment and communities.
Pilot projects are needed now
Whilst a fully integrated offshore transmission network (offshore grid) will take a number of years to develop, there are immediate steps which will help achieve Britain’s future wind capacity goals.
We need pilot projects involving pooling energy at sea and transporting power by subsea cable closer to demand, in order to test and perfect this technology over the next few years. Pilot projects are vital now to gain the experience needed to deliver future plans cost-effectively.
Pilot 1: This approach is already being planned by wind farms Five Estuaries and North Falls combining with the Nautilus Interconnector and taking power to the Isle of Grain as part of the OCSS (evidencing the sound rationale for this solution)
Pilot 2: Scottish Power’s EA1N, EA2 and LionLink can combine energy offshore and take power to the brownfield site of Bradwell closer to London, which has an existing substation and pylons that can be upgraded, offering huge overall savings. I understand the local MP and landowner are in favour of this onshore solution.
These two pilots could prove the pivotal projects for achieving Britain’s future goals faster and at lower cost and I urge you to do everything in your power to achieve this.
Best wishes to you all,
The SEAS Team
Paul Chandler's writes to National Grid following Sea Link Interconnector Webinar, April 2022
To: Contact Sealink <email@example.com>
Subject: General observations following Suffolk webinar
I attended the Suffolk webinar this week and whilst I understand the underlying issues behind the need for a Suffolk to Kent interconnector, I would offer the observation that this need was known before the DCO examination for SPR’s EA1N and EA2 projects, yet NGET/NGESO kept very quiet about the true intention behind the substation at Friston. In fact attempts to get any NG involvement in the DCO process proved almost impossible. Local campaigners realised at a very early stage that the Friston substation was to be a hub and that many other connections would be made. Now that the Secretary of State has announced his decision are true details being revealed to Joe Public
Studying NOA and CION documents it was clear that the 2 interconnectors, plus the plethora of offshore windfarms would be connecting somewhere along the East Coast and the Sizewell area was the closest and most obvious place to start. I can appreciate the moving of the goalposts by the Government in respect of the 2030 renewable target of 30 GW increasing to 40GW and now potentially 50GW has thrown plans your into disarray, but this shift to renewables is not an overnight event. The prospect of multiple offshore windfarms and European Interconnectors has been ‘in the wind’ for many years.
What local communities and campaigners find most depressing is the complete disregard for the local environment, pushing ahead and supporting a plan to force a huge carbuncle upon the medieval village of Friston, developing an open green space of agricultural land into a vast industrial complex completely out of place with its surroundings. Friston will be blighted forever. This would not be such a bitter pill to swallow if there weren’t alternative sites or technology available.
Bradwell in Essex is a brownfield site that could easily accommodate all the infrastructure needed for the connection of renewables and interconnectors. The overhead lines would possibly need to be uprated to achieve this but as was stated in the webinar, an upgrade to the transmission system is a consideration anyway. Located on the river Blackwater, convenient for sea access.
There are also offshore substation hubs to be considered. Whilst SPR consistently maintained this technology was insufficiently advanced or even in existence to be considered, other Scandinavian countries are progressing in this direction. What do they know you don’t?
In light of the silence from National Grid and the obvious mis-information and deniability of other projects revealed during the EA1N and EA2 enquiry, a proper fair analysis of the cumulative impact these will have on communities in Suffolk was not possible. The inevitable damage to the hospitality industry, THE major employer in the area, and as a result incomes of those employed in the industry; the harm to the environment and wild life; and the misery and suffering of local communities caused by all these NSIPs, trying to sell the benefits of Sealink will be an uphill struggle. There is considerable local opposition to all these projects and the prospect of yet another round of DCO examinations fills many with dread.
Save Our Sandlings was formed to protect an area of East Suffolk known as the the Suffolk Sandlings, an area of sandy lowland heathland. Lowland heath is a rare and threatened habitat internationally and the UK has 20% of the global total. Two important regions of lowland heathland are found in Suffolk: Breckland on the Norfolk/Suffolk border and the Sandlings along the coastal belt. Only 8% of the original 1,600ha remain in 42 fragments under 2ha. (source: Suffolkbis.org)
The key National Biodiversity Action Plan species using the heathlands in Suffolk include Stone Curlew, Nightjar, Woodlark, Skylark, Linnet, Natterjack Toad, Silver-Studded Blue butterfly, Red-Tipped Cudweed, Tower Mustard, Perennial Knawel and Small Alison. In addition two Suffolk Character species, adder and antlion, now have individual Local Action Plans.
In addition, the Sandlings Way, and ancient long-distance path from Ipswich in the South to Lowestoft in the North follows the coast line from Bawdsey to Dunwich passing through Thorpeness and Sizewell. These latter locations are the landfall points for offshore cables.
The Coastal area of Suffolk comprises the Suffolk Coast & Heath Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Sites of Special Scientific Interest, Environmentally Sensitive Areas and Specially Protected Areas. The area is a continual draw for visitors throughout the year, and is extremely important to the local economy. As can be observed from the convoluted path for the EA1N and EA2 cable corridor, avoiding the AONB, SSSis, ESA and SPA has proven far from straightforward. As we understand it, cable runs require a degree of separation, and there are a number of pinch points along the route chosen by SPR, making additional cable runs extremely challenging. There is also the lack of acceptable real estate to land cables in the Thorpeness area. The Thorpeness cliffs comprise Coraline Crag which is immensely unstable when disturbed, there have numerous cliffs falls, one of which proved fatal. The cliffs are also home to a colony of Sand Martins.
We have serious concerns for the future of the Sandlings from development and the prospect of any number of cable corridors running through the area, there will be at least 5 projects worth as known at present. How these cables will route through to Friston without disturbing environmentally sensitive areas is unclear; we are concerned this will not be possible.
Given all the above, establishing offshore hubs make eminent sense. It will also be a much easier sell to coastal communities and business. It is highly likely a judicial review of the SoS BEIS DCO decision will be requested in light of a number of discrepancies during the examination and emergence of further information. Accepting that offshore structures present a possible visual intrusion on the seascape, this disbenefit is vastly outweighed by the benefits to the environment and visual landscape at Friston. Surely a win-win for National Grid.
Save Our Sandlings works closely with Substation Action, Save East Suffolk (SASES) and Suffolk Energy Action Solutions (SEAS) and welcome the opportunity to work with you in your Community Engagement activities. Our aims are to protect our precious environment and way of life for future generations. Once land is lost under concrete and steel, there is no going back. We are not anti-renewables or NIMBYs; we consider these are the RIGHT projects in the WRONG place. Most especially when there are acceptable alternatives.
Save Our Sandlings
More than 1200 people at LionLink events
Rt Hon Therese Coffey response to constituent, April 2022
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