“To ensure that the transmission connections for offshore wind generation are delivered in the most appropriate way, considering the increased ambition for offshore wind to achieve net zero. This will be done with a view to finding the appropriate balance between environmental, social and economic costs.” – Offshore Transmission Network Review Objective
Offshore wind will undoubtedly bring a positive national and regional economic impact and we welcome the regeneration possibilities for Lowestoft as a centre for the renewables industry. However, at a micro level, around Friston and the surrounding villages of Aldeburgh Thorpeness, Snape and Southwold, research commissioned by the Suffolk Coast Destination Management Organisation (DMO), suggests that new energy projects on the Suffolk coastline could damage the local tourist economy by up to £40 million per annum. Clogged roads and the perception of massive construction will lead to tourists choosing other destinations which are more attractive.
This is a devastating and unacceptable loss. Unacceptable because it is needless. The destruction of swathes of unspoilt countryside which in turn will destroy a significant proportion of the nature-based tourism sector would not occur if the onshore substation complex was taken to an industrialised or brownfield site.
The Way Forward - A Split Decision
SEAS is calling on the Secretary of State to:
1. Take a more strategic approach to the location of all onshore infrastructure for offshore wind so that onshore energy hubs are built on brownfield sites and our unspoilt and protected landscapes are saved.
2. To reconsider his decision on East Anglia One North and East Anglia Two and recommend a ‘split decision’ so that:
(i) The offshore turbines are recommended for consent.
(ii) The onshore infrastructure is rejected in favour of full consideration of better locations for this infrastructure where the adverse impacts are minimised at a brownfield or industrialised site.
Campaigners call for 'split decision' over Suffolk windfarm projects, East Anglian Daily Times, 19 July 2021
The Suffolk Heritage Coast and its priceless value
The “heritage coast” classification system was initiated in 1972 to protect coastlines of special scenic and environmental value from undesirable development.
The Suffolk Heritage Coast is priceless. How can anyone value the rich cultural heritage and forecast exactly what could be lost in terms of tourism revenue if these onshore infrastructure plans go ahead?
Tourism and the road system are inextricably linked. The rural lanes and arterial roads are already dangerously busy at certain times of the year. These energy projects would cause greater traffic congestion and danger to ramblers, cyclists and delays for emergency services. Tourists will choose to go to more attractive places where the roads are less congested.
The ability to pay for the preservation of cultural heritage is partly contingent on guaranteed numbers of leisure visitors. Jobs in hospitality, outdoor activities, festivals and related services are all threatened by the industrialisation of Suffolk Heritage Coast.
What is this area’s cultural heritage?
Aldeburgh was one of Suffolk’s earliest seaside resorts. At the beginning of the nineteenth century visitors began to visit the town to enjoy its clear and healthy air and to sample the excellence of its water. A guide book to the town dated 1820 assures its readers that Aldeburgh “is reckoned by physicians to be one of the most healthy places along the eastern shore..”
Benjamin Britten, a dentist’s son from Lowestoft, made Suffolk the heart of the twentieth-century British musical landscape. Britten is best remembered for his founding of the annual Aldeburgh Festival in 1948 and the creation of the Snape Maltings Concert hall. At the Festival, Britten and his partner Peter Pears brought together international stars and emerging talent from around the world. The 832-seat Snape Maltings hall was opened by the Queen at the start of the twentieth Aldeburgh festival on 2 June 1967. The Maltings continues to host world-class performers under its current management, the Britten Pears Arts, a pioneering music, arts and heritage charity.
Suffolk’s coastline is a main draw for tourists. In the Summer, visitors swarm to charming seaside resorts such as Aldeburgh and Southwold. The coastal paths and nature reserves are a major attraction, headed by the world-famous RSPB reserve of Minsmere. The five estuaries make this region particularly magical for the wildlife and for hiking and canoeing.
Culture plays a large part in twenty-first century Suffolk life. Festivals abound. In Aldeburgh alone, the calendar year is filled with annual festival bookings - Literary, Poetry, Food & Drink, Documentary film, Craft-fairs, Art and Contemporary Music.
Thorpeness was voted the “weirdest village in England” in 2003 by Bizarre magazine. Glencairn Stuart Ogilvie’s dream was to create a fantasy holiday village when he bought up the land north of Aldeburgh in 1910. The buildings have a mock Tudor or Jacobean style. In the centre of the village is a shallow, artificial boating lake that Ogilvie called the Meare, using the Elizabethan spelling. Peter Pan’s author, J.M.Barrie was a friend of Ogilvie and this book was the inspiration for the design of this adventure playground.
The Warden’s Trust building located on the border of Thorpeness is listed in the latest edition of Pevsner as another quirky piece of architecture, now the home to the acclaimed charity for vulnerable children and elderly. The other famous feature of Thorpeness is the House in the Clouds built in 1923 as a water tower and now converted into holiday accommodation.
Coastal Suffolk has been under threat from coastal erosion, flooding and foreign invaders for centuries. The 17 Martello Towers including Slaughden with its unique quatrefoil design, capable of holding four guns, remain an architectural legacy of the Napoleonic Wars and are today mostly converted into holiday accommodation. Orford Ness is not only famous for its bird life and Estuary trails but also for its Cold War history.
Coastal Suffolk is a source of inspiration for artists, writers, composers and poets. WG Sebald, George Crabbe, Esther Freud, Juliet Blaxland, Daniel Horowitz are just a few of the writers and poets who have chosen to live in this area over the last few centuries. Vast skies, rare shingle beaches, fragile shorelines, coralline crag and heathland make this a watery wilderness of beauty and otherness. Artists such as Maggi Hambling have attracted a new type of pilgrim to visit and tourists are keen to view new art exhibitions as well as attending concerts, and walking in the nature reserves.
Cultural and outdoor tourism is this region’s main source of revenue and the future stability and growth of this sector is dependent on the tranquillity, sense of untouched Nature and the lack of development and industrialisation.
Suffolk county is enriched through these contrasting sectors. Suffolk’s natural assets can include wind energy and unspoilt countryside. These two assets should not be in opposition to each other. They should co-exist. Niche tourism should be nurtured alongside the exciting developments for Lowestoft as a centre for renewables. These two Suffolk regions should be developed as two distinct offers.
The sunrise coast symbolises the regeneration of the Waveney valley and its future success is linked to the renewable energy industry.
Lowestoft and the Waveney Valley should become a centre of excellence for research and development in renewables.
That is a very different proposition to the Suffolk Heritage Coast.
There is a risk of commoditisation if these regions are homogenised. 2021 is a tipping point.
Do we have the collective will and determination to find a way forward which is a win/win?
Traffic, Tourism and Economic Impact
- SEAS Submission on the Adverse Impacts on Tourism, Deadline 13 5 July 2021
- SEAS Response to the Applicant’s reply to Roads/Traffic and Tourism REP9-014 & REP6-064, 5 July 2021
- Roads, Traffic and Tourism, SEAS Deadline 8 Submission
- Roads, Traffic and Tourism, SEAS Deadline 5 Submission
- Roads, Traffic and Tourism, SEAS Deadline 5 Submission
- Roads, Traffic and Tourism, SEAS Deadline 2 Submission
- Roads, Traffic and Tourism, SEAS Deadline 1 Submission
Campaign With Us
We are asking you to write, to the Secretary of State for the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), The Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng MP, calling for him to reconsider a 'split decision' so that:
- The offshore turbines are recommended for consent.
- The onshore infrastructure is rejected in favour of full consideration of better locations for this infrastructure where the adverse impacts are minimised at a brownfield or industrialised site.
Send a Letter: 1 Victoria St., London SW1H 0ET
At a micro level, around Friston and the surrounding villages, research commissioned by the Suffolk Coast Destination Management Organisation (DMO), suggests that new energy projects on the Suffolk coastline could devastate the local tourist economy by up to £40 million per annum.