Peter Chadwick, Save Our Sandlings, Open Floor Hearings 1, Wednesday 7 October 2020

The negative consequences outweigh any benefits.

The project should not be sited  in this precious part of East Suffolk. We strongly support the need for more wind  power - but not like this.

There would be:  

- environmental destruction of the Sandlings AONB coastal strip and other unspoilt  countryside.

– deterioration in quality of life for local people and visitors  

– loss of jobs and income in the tourist trade  

– detrimental effects on wildlife and rare species

- combined effects around gridlocked traffic and pollution compounded by other  proposed energy projects

- and so on.

All this greatly outweighs any benefits.

There are even no local jobs.

Drilling through crumbling cliffs at Thorpeness on an fast eroding coast is also very  unwise. Desktop and other studies cannot predict what will happen in the future.  

Things are made even worse - as giving the go-ahead to this project will bring not  just one - but successive cable routes the width of a motorway with the associated  hall roads and traffic -through the area of outstanding natural beauty. This is a fragile  precious coastal strip - with its endangered Sandlings heathland - including sites of  special scientific interest - and special protected areas. This will make the timescale  of any recovery very long. So it could be argued that the effect of the works in the  AONB will not be temporary and so should be classed as coming under national  planning law for works of national significance in an AONB. This states that where  there is an alternative - the siting of the work should not take place in an AONB. In  this case there are certainly other potential solutions or sites away from the AONB..

The main problem is with National Grid - a private company. They cannot be  contacted by us and they will not engage. Surely this private company is not above  the planning law? This is definitely a National-Grid-led solution - which makes SPR  come ashore and connect in this beautiful area. It is not fit for purpose in 2020. National Grid’s remit is to provide the best value for the taxpayer but the detrimental  cost on this region far outweighs any savings. This is only expedient for the National  Grid and its shareholders - not the public good. The project should made to connect to  an out-at-sea multi hub or an out-at-sea ring main. Otherwise it should be bought  ashore and the substation built on a brownfield site - of which there are many. The  technology means cables can be taken up the Thames estuary where there are miles  upon miles of brownfield sites and National Grid connections. Or it should go to

other brownfield sites - Lowestoft, Bradwell, Bramford, Felixstowe industrial areas  etc. The National Grid must be required to be what its name implies – a national grid  for the benefit of the nation. It should update the present out-of-date Grid to give  more ecological and socially acceptable connections in the 21st century -where these  are necessary. It is not good enough to just use powerline runs from the 1960s -  before the AONB was created -when there was little thought for the environment and  broader quality of life. The government needs to replace this free-for-all wild-west  policy and has at least initiated the BEISS enquiry into onshore connections from  wind farms.

National Grid enterprises – who are a completely different company from the  secretive National Grid company – have engaged on the subject. To quote them 'The  MPI solution will provide the key to unlocking offshore wind whilst minimising  impact on coastal communities. By combining offshore wind farms with  Interconnectors offshore, MPIs will reduce the amount of onshore infrastructure  needed and will also mitigate the environmental impact on coastal communities,  compared to the current approach in which Interconnectors and wind farms are  developed and connected separately.' and they also say 'Above all, we need to take a  coordinated approach.'

This is certainly not what is happening with the SPR/National Grid Friston  application - which does not fit in any proper plan. Making each separate wind farm  have its own massive substation onshore - with its own cable route and the hall roads  - is such a waste of time and money for the wind farm developers and so ultimately  for the taxpayer. It causes needless destruction to the countryside. Residents and  objectors who’s lifestyle and livelihoods are under threat are being forced to mount  very distressing and time consuming campaigns against what is being proposed. This  is all because of a lack of proper thought and planning. It is quite frankly inefficient  and lazy - certainly not fit for purpose in the 21st century either for the industry or the  taxpaying public in a large area of Suffolk - who are so badly affected.

This SPR/National Grid application with its overwhelming negative affect on the area  should not be allowed to go ahead. This is short-sighted short term expediency. It is  not planning - in all senses of the word - and I submit that the application should be  rejected or put on hold until a different proper solution is found and not be allowed to  go ahead with what will ruin this special area of East Suffolk with its unique and  endangered Sandlings AONB and other unspoilt countryside.

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