Andrew Fane, Chairman of Suffolk Preservation Society (SPS) and Supporter of SEAS comments in the SPS Autumn Magazine 'Suffolk View'. Andrew expresses his concern that unchecked planning and development risks a diminution of our countryside and the erosion of the essential qualities of Suffolk. Ill-conceived land-grabs across unique biodiverse countryside for onshore wind energy substations, over zealous investors in mass housing and rapacious chicken farming could be the tipping point for this county.
“One of the things that informed pressure groups like SPS must strive to do is engage with our politicians and seek to persuade them to lower the temperature on planning and on development. We are doing just that for Suffolk wherever we can.
We advise politicians that using many more consents than our builders can deliver in a limited timescale means wrong consents being issued in the wrong locations. We point out that Suffolk doesn’t have to be the conduit of choice for a wholly disproportionate percentage of national energy being channelled through some of our AONBS and delicate historic landscapes. We say that Suffolk doesn’t have to produce such a percentage of the national chicken supply that prime land is vanishing under industrial scale chicken sheds.
Frankly, we are saying spread the pain about a bit – send the green power by ring main direct to the Thames Estuary where it is wanted - that is established technology. Let planners only allocate housing according to demonstrable local needs, not as a magnet for second rate mass housing in the wrong locations. Let road builders accept a degree of overcrowding on our major roads to discourage needless journeys and then improve our rail infrastructure. And finally design everything better, be it house or substation, so that they are not an automatic blight…”
The North Sea Wind Power Hub (NSWPH) has stated publicly that it wants to engage with both the Norwegian and U.K. authorities to pull them into the development of the offshore hub. As well as offshore wind expertise and access to the North Sea, both can also use oil and gas know-how to store hydrogen in offshore reservoirs and retrofit gas pipelines to transport hydrogen instead. A spokesperson for BEIS said: “The government recognizes the benefits of hybrid projects, including joint interconnector and wind projects, which may develop into efficient and cost-effective solutions to help the U.K. decarbonize. We are continuing to engage with stakeholders and developers to understand the potential benefits of these projects.”
Installing an additional 30GW within ten years will require significant changes to a range of policy frameworks, and co-operation between government and industry, writes Christopher Hopson