As of early evening on 31 March 2022, ScottishPower Renewables East Anglia One North and East Anglia Two offshore wind projects have been consented.
A difficult time for many and for those directly affected, hard to bear.
We have all challenged and opposed with reason, emotion and determination. Sadly, our voices did not prevail.
Onshore eyesores that come with offshore wind farms to be shrunk.
Plan to reduce unsightly infrastructure such as cables, substations and pylons in government push to get coastal communities onside.
Legal action threatened over wind farms
Communities in Suffolk are threatening legal action. SEAS has sent a pre-action protocol letter to Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng urging a rethink before seeking permission to apply for a judicial review.
Campaigners 'devastated' after two large wind farms off Suffolk coast given consent.
"This is extremely bad news for the area ... We're thinking about taking this decision to a judicial review." Fiona Gilmore SEAS
The decision would mean "the devastation of Friston and east Suffolk ... It will mean the loss of 100 acres of farmland at Friston to build the substation." SASES
Concern over imminent decision on wind farms ...
... we are proud of having renewables at sea. We are very proud of it, but we believe that there are better solutions for the sub-stations, not just for habitats and the environment, but also for the local economy ..." Fiona Gilmore, SEAS
"We are recommending brownfield sites ... and have requested a split decision ... to prevent the loss of land designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty ..." Sarah Courage, Kelsale
"Wind energy can be gathered from three or four windfarms at offshore platforms and brought to brownfield hubs ..." Fiona Gilmore, SEAS
Celebrities speak out against onshore energy hub
"Sir ... A split decision is suggested, to continue building wind turbines but to pivot to offshore integrated cabling to brownfield sites."
Dame Joanna Lumley and actor Ralph Fiennes have warned in a joint letter that two planned wind farms off the Suffolk coast could see an area of beautiful countryside "disappear under a sea of concrete".
Green Party, Liberal Democrat and Independent councillors at East Suffolk Council have said further work should be paused ...
"I understand this is a big challenge for Government and developers but our communities really do need to see some action now, after what has been a lot of talking, it is time to get a grip."
"If this means calling a pause to further onshore activity until strategic co-ordination is in place, then so be it"
East Anglian Daily Times, 10 February 2022
Interview with SEAS biodiversity expert Dr. Gill Horrocks The podcast highlights the importance of balancing our need for renewable energy with the need to look after irreplaceable landscapes that bring a richness not just to wildlife but to human habitation and to our communities and to people's quality of life.
National Grid Ventures and Nautilus Interconnector between Suffolk and Belgium.
"Greener solution tabled to replace ‘destructive’ Suffolk energy plans", New Civil Engineer, 20 September 2021
"The onshore aspects of these projects must be rejected" The Rt Hon Dr Therese Coffey MP
Campaigners call for 'split decision' over Suffolk windfarm projects, East Anglian Daily Times, 19 July 2021
Write to Secretary of State, The Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng MP, calling for him to pronounce a 'split decision'.
The terrifying scale of ground investigation works at the substation site of Friston. A tiny foretaste of what is to come if we do not stop these plans.
Interviews with Sarah Bardwell, Andrew Heald, Jason Gathorne-Hardy, Maggi Hambling, George Pell, Jenny Hall, Tony Bone and others.
New Policy Exchange Report, touts East Coast of England as the best place for an integrated 'Pathfinder' project.
Our congratulations to the two newly elected Councillors for East Suffolk Council. Notably both candidates support a ‘Split Decision’ as a way forward.
SUFFOLK MP, WRITES TO ENERGY SECRETARY
The Rt Hon Dr Therese Coffey MP writes to the Energy Secretary asking “what reassurance he can give me that any future application will need to demonstrate a thorough and robust site selection assessment so that connections can be brought onshore in areas that will do less harm to this precious part of the Suffolk coast“. Therese Coffey MP, 25 April 2022
“I will increase efforts to stop this decision having a domino effect on other applications for other offshore windfarms and interconnectors.” East Anglian Daily Times 13 April 2022
“The proposed National Policy Statements for Energy also place an expectation on applicants to demonstrate how the optimum connection locations have been identified. I cannot understand how this has been achieved by National Grid …” Therese Coffey MP’s response to Nautilus Interconnector Public Consultation, 26 October 2021
Thérèse Coffey MP joins with East Anglian MPs and County Councillors to form the Off Shore Electricity Grid Task Force (OFFSET), designed to ensure our precious landscapes and communities are protected from uncoordinated energy infrastructure. It’s “essential the infrastructure is placed in the most appropriate place, preferably on brownfield land, minimising cable corridors and the impact on the environment”. Therese Coffey MP, 12 October 2021
Therese Coffey MP’s verbal submission to the Planning Inspectorate, 24 February 2021
Reform of Offshore Wind Industry backed by MPs, Eastern Daily Press, 2 November 2020
The Councils position remains unchanged
The Councils “position remains unchanged”
East Suffolk Council’s letter to SEAS, 24 March 2022
SEAS call on the Council “to write to the Secretary of State and declare that it is no longer ‘neutral’ about the proposals but does in fact oppose them”, SEAS letter to East Suffolk Council, 9 March 2022
SEAS hosted an online hustings for the Aldeburgh and Leiston Wards. Notably all candidates supported a ‘split decision’.
East Suffolk Council needs to ensure a win/win for Lowestoft’s Renewables aspirations and for the protection of Suffolk Heritage Coast’s environment and tourism. It is not an either or. Read the transcript of Russ Rainger and Tom Daly, July 2021
Councillors for Aldeburgh and Leiston resign from East Suffolk Council. “I cannot currently give my support to the Council as I believe the manner in which East Suffolk District Council is pursuing the Energy aspirations is potentially extremely detrimental to, rather than being supportive of, the area I have had the honour to represent. This makes it extremely difficult to adequately reflect the informed views of residents in the Ward and continue to attempt to draw attention to this Ward becoming a casualty in the drive to support the wider economic area of East Suffolk.” Jocelyn Bond, East Anglian Daily Times, 21 May 2021
Shock and disappointment as East Suffolk Council move to a ‘neutral’ position. Town and Parish Councils letter, 3 February 2021
East Suffolk Council Cabinet Meeting Minutes, 5 January 2021
SEAS write to East Suffolk Council, 18 December 2020
SASES write to East Suffolk Council, 17 December 2020
hot off the press
Financial Times, 6 January 2022
Getting any national PR has been hard. We believe that this is because most journalists do not dig deep into the issues and simply endorse the “green energy is good” mantra. They fail to understand that there are serious issues relating to the location of onshore infrastructure where the adverse impacts outweigh the benefits.
At last Financial Times journalists have taken time to visit, interview and research the problems associated with the onshore siting of the infrastructure for offshore windfarms and interconnectors and how power from different wind farms can now be integrated at sea and brought to land via a reduced number of cables with brownfield sites used for clustering substations. The FT article is by no means perfect, but at least some of the more detailed issues have been investigated.
If you subscribe to the FT you will be able to see that the article has attracted over 500 comments. Some are brilliant.
“You do realise that SPR’s proposal is the first of 7 of these massive substation complexes? That it drives through and impacts several SSSI’s, the SPA and RAMSAR, and Suffolk Heritage Coast? There was no national debate about turning coastal Suffolk into an industrial site for the benefit of foreign investors. As for what this generation of wind farms is doing to the sea environment, look at what the RSPB has to say” Huw Mussby-Joakin
Sadly other comments belittle local opinion by characterising anyone objecting to the location of this development as NIMBYs. A lazy and frustrating cliché and a great dishonour to many in Suffolk who are IN FAVOUR of offshore wind but unlike some developers, cherish our irreplaceable landscapes that bring a richness not just to wildlife but to our communities.
SEA Link Interconnector
We urge you to register to attend the introductory public webinar on Sea Link Interconnector,
Wednesday 13th April 18:00 – 19:00
For more information and to register, visit National Grid’s website
It is dispiriting to report that NGET (National Grid Electricity Transmission) has recently confirmed their intention to connect Sea Link Interconnector into the ‘Leiston Area’.
This means there are now five confirmed energy projects planned to connect to the grid in the Leiston area. The sheer scale of the onshore infrastructure and cable corridors needed for this array of ever emerging offshore wind projects is horrifying.
Sea Link is a new offshore HVDC link between Suffolk and Kent, the purpose of which is to take the power brought in by East Anglia One North (EA1N), East Anglia Two (EA2), Nautilus and Eurolink from Suffolk down to Kent to distribute within the Thames Valley where it is needed.
This is needless destruction. Why not take the power from these windfarms and interconnectors directly to where it is needed and connect them to the grid closer to the centres of population further south. Could this not negate the need for Sea Link Interconnector altogether?
SEAS and SASES joint letter to Sea Link, January 2022
SPR ARE USING 'GAGGING' CLAUSES IN THEIR AGREEMENTS WITH LANDOWNERS
31 January 2022, SEAS Latest Submission to the Examination of EA1N/2
Scottish Power Renewables (SPR) are using “gagging” clauses in their agreements with landowners involved in the planning process for their offshore wind farms, EA1N and EA2. These clauses offer financial incentives to individuals and groups to withdraw objections and/or desist from objecting to their plans. SPR claims that these gagging orders are “normal commercial arrangements”. We do not believe this is the case. Development consent and planning hearings are distorted if those who might reasonably be expected to object are quietly silenced and given financial incentives to withdraw opposition.
There can be no justification for making payments or imposing conditions which undermine a statutory planning inquiry conducted in accordance with public law principles.
SEAS Latest Submission to the Secretary of State, 31 January 2022
Therese Coffey MP speaks out, 24 February 2021
Request for Information, SEAS Additional Submission 22 February 2021
Complaint Letter, SEAS Additional Submission 14 February 2021
PM CONFIRMS HIS SUPPORT FOR AN OFFSHORE GRID
19 MAY 2021, PM CONFIRMS HIS SUPPORT FOR AN OFFSHORE GRID AFTER JAMES CARTLIDGE (MP SOUTH SUFFOLK) ASKED HIM THE FOLLOWING QUESTION:
“I thank the Prime Minister for the support he has already shown for coming forward with an offshore transmission grid, which he knows will help us to both export our surplus offshore wind to the continent and reduce the infrastructure associated with new wind farm capacity. It is very important to our communities, but there is a question over timing. Given that he has already set out an ambitious and clear timetable for increasing offshore wind generation, will he now come out with an equally ambitious timetable for delivering an offshore grid?“
The Prime Minister’s response:
“My hon. Friend is spot on in what he says about the need for an offshore grid. As well as building the fantastic windmills, it is vital that we bring the energy onshore in a way that has minimal disruption for local communities and enables us to maximise efficiency.” Hansard
“I can tell him ((North Norfolk MP Duncan Baker) that we are certainly looking at the issue of the transmission network review and we are developing the necessary regulatory changes.” Prime Minister’s Question Time, Wednesday 24 February 2021 Hansard
These responses show backing at the highest level for a grid connection which has ‘minimal disruption for local communities’ and grid connections which ‘maximises efficiency’.
3-MONTHS EXTENSION TO THE EXAMINATIONS
1 April 2021, SEAS
On 1 April 2021, 5 days before the 6 month Examination period was due to close, the Planning Inspectorate announced that the Secretary of State had granted a 3-month extension to the Examinations. This meant the Examinations did not close until 6 July 2021.
SEAS joined with other groups to object to the extension on the grounds that it was procedurally unfair.
SEAS have limited human and financial resources. To meet the gruelling schedule of hearings we, in effect, emptied the bank accounts to pay for experts and counsel. In this context, SPR has unlimited resources and any extension can and will be funded commensurately.
The overwhelming impression we were left with is that the extension benefited SPR by giving them an unfair chance to plug the multitude of gaps that existed in their evidence. SPR has had more than ample opportunity to adduce evidence on all matters.
Deadline 13 Submission (point 18), SEAS 5 July 2021
Additional Submission, SEAS 23 June 2021
Deadline 10 Submission, SEAS 6 May 2021
Formal Objection to the Extension of the Examinations SEAS, 8 April 2021
Notification of a new deadlines The Planning Inspectorate, 1 April 2021,
Letter granting the Extension to the Examinations Department of Business Energy and Industrial Strategy, 30 March 2021
Crossed wires: East Suffolk for first pathfinder project
8 JULY 2021, POLICY EXCHANGE
“Without reform, there is now a significant risk that local backlash against grid connections for offshore wind farm will grow, spreading from East Anglia to North Wales, Humberside, and the east coast of Scotland” This is the conclusion to a report endorsed by the Rt Hon Dame Andrea Leadsom DBE MP and Rt Hon Amber Rudd. SEAS would agree with this conclusion. The Government must act if we are to hit their 2030 target and put the UK on a path to Net Zero.
Importantly, this report singles out East Anglia as the region for the Government to focus on with regard to greater integration and engagement with the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy’s (BEIS) Offshore Transmission Network Review (OTNR) ‘pathfinder’ projects.
However this report suggests weak and regressive caveats to fall back upon. “The Government should compensate communities impacted by the construction of offshore wind farms and associated infrastructure such as substations and cable routes” SEAS rejects this suggestion. No amount of money can compensate for the loss of our environment and rural communities.
The report does not go far enough. Integration in itself is not enough to protect our biodiversity and rural communities. Only if integrated grid connections are taken forward at brownfield or industrialised sites can the impacts of offshore wind farm infrastructure be minimised. In today’s world if our environment is not protected for our future generations, then the Government will not receive support for the UK’s decarbonisation efforts.
SEAS Analysis in Full
SEAS Summary Analysis
Crossed Wires: Maintaining public support for offshore wind farms, Policy Exchange, July 2021
KEEPING THE LIGHTS ON, PRIVATE EYE
OCTOBER 2020, ‘OLD SPARKY’
EDF’s prospective new nuke at Sizewell is not the only vast energy scheme threatening Suffolk’s rural amenities and running laughable “consultation” exercises (Eyes passim). Only two miles away, Scottish Power Renewables (SPR) is right up there with EDF – on both counts.
SPR’s “East Anglia Hub” would be a 3 gigawatt offshore windfarm complex in the North Sea. Designed to produce sustainable electricity out of sight over the horizon, the plan has broad support – in principle. However, the onshore ramifications are contentious: the location for landfall of the incoming power cables, the digging of a six-mile “cable corridor”, and two large new substations. These works would cut across a stretch of Heritage Coast, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, a Special Protection Area and a Site of Special Scientific Interest. Oddly, SPR is not intending to do the obvious and amalgamate its workings with those of EDF’s Sizewell C project next door, with its large existing site and grid connection. (Maybe SPR is as sceptical about Sizewell’s prospects as Old Sparky.) …
The Bigger Picture Exhibition, Featuring 'Wild Summer Sea' by Maggi Hambling CBE
Thanks to Therese Tollemache, Sally Miles and Georgina King SEAS ran a pop-up art exhibition, The Bigger Picture, at Gallery152 in Aldeburgh during September 2020 with generous donations from local Artists including Maggi Hambling, Beezy Bailey and Laurence Edwards. We are immensely grateful to all those artist and supporters who have enabled us to continue our campaign into 2021. Thank you.
Loaded by Laurence Edwards
‘Paradise Walk’ Sailors Path by Beezy Bailey
Griff Rhys Jones joins celebrity campaign against offshore wind turbines onshore blight
4 MARCH 2020, BEN WEBSTER, ENVIRONMENT EDITOR, THE TIMES
The comedian and actor Griff Rhys Jones has joined a campaign to stop more than 100 coastal villages being blighted by pylons, substations and cables connected to offshore wind farms.
In a letter to The Times, he and other actors and artists with homes in Suffolk say that the “piecemeal approach” to green energy infrastructure would result in the “destruction of ancient woodland [and] rare heathland habitats” in Suffolk and Norfolk.
The Times, Letter to the Editors, Wind Power Threat, 4 March 2020
Sir, The UK’s position as a world leader in offshore wind power will be undermined if the government continues its piecemeal, out-dated approach to onshore infrastructure. Landscapes destroyed by such development are not renewable.
The government has no national strategy for the delivery of offshore power into the National Grid. In the short term, brownfield sites must be used for onshore infrastructure. This will avoid needless destruction of ancient woodland, rare heathland habitats and communities that depend on these precious landscapes.
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
Adders in Suffolk are almost exclusively found in the Sandlings heaths. Already an endangered species their habitats will be further fragmented and destroyed by the onshore development of these projects.