EASTERN DAILY PRESS, PUBLISHED: 15:23 01 June 2020 | UPDATED: 09:37 02 June 2020 by Stuart Anderson
The deadline day for Norfolk Vanguard has now been set as July 1, after earlier being pushed back from December to today (June 1).
Alok Sharma, secretary of state for business, energy and industrial strategy, made the decision to delay.
A statement from the Planning Inspectorate said: “The Secretary of State has decided to re-set the statutory deadline for this application to 1 July 2020.
“A statement confirming the new deadline for a decision will be made to the House of Commons and House of Lords in accordance with section 107(7) of the Planning Act 2008 as soon as possible.”
Swedish energy firm Vattenfall wants to build Norfolk Vanguard along with another wind farm called Boreas in the North Sea between Norfolk and the Netherlands.
MORE: Comments sought on plans for Norfolk Vanguard offshore wind farm
Vanguard is a 1.8 gigawatt (GW) project, meaning it could supply power to around 1.3 million UK households.
The offshore wind farm will comprise 158 wind turbines, and will be 47km offshore at its closest point.
The project calls for the cabling to make landfall at Happisburgh and run over to a new substation to be built next to an existing one in Necton, between Dereham and Swaffham.
Danielle Lane, Vattenfall’s UK country manager, said: “Norfolk Vanguard is one of the most innovative and ambitious offshore wind projects in the world. Yet this is now the second time it has suffered a delay, despite addressing all of the major concerns raised during the planning process.
“Coming so soon after the decision on Norfolk Boreas was pushed back until October, the offshore wind industry will be left wondering about the Government’s intentions for this sector.
“We’re in a race against time to reduce emissions and need to respond to the economic crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, yet crucial infrastructure decisions are being put on hold.
“While we appreciate the added difficulties posed by the current lockdown, some of the largest engineering projects ever built - capable of providing clean energy security and a vital economic boost to the UK - remain in limbo. For every day that goes by without a decision, there are consequences for the next phase of the project, so it’s vital that there are no further delays.”
Ruari Lean, project manager for Norfolk Vanguard, added: “We are really disappointed - it is vital that there are no further delays.
“The world is in unprecedented circumstances, but we want to get the turbines turning in 2025.”
Jenny Smedley from the Necton Substations Action Group, which is campaigning for the different wind farm projects to link off offshore rather than running separate cables through the countryside, said: “What they are saying is that there are unresolved issues that will have to be resolved at some point. It may just be that the secretary of state hasn’t had time to make the decision. You start to wonder how many chances are they going to get to get it right before they’re told: ‘you’re obviously not capable of doing it?’ It’s frustrating.”
Professor Tony Barnett, from Corpusty and Saxthorpe Parish Council, said the council was concerned about the long-term health effects and welfare effects on residents that digging cable trenches through the countryside for each new wind farm project would have.
He said the energy firms had not responded to requests for a “proper assessment” of these matters.
Prof Barnett said: “We are not opposed to wind power; we are opposed to long lasting, fragmented, multiple, overlapping construction processes which do not take into account that this is a regional problem which requires an integrated regional solution rather than a series of unintegrated projects.
“This is bad planning for an urgent national demand for an environmentally important intervention.”
Another planned wind farm project, Hornsea 3, with cabling coming ashore at Weybourne, has also had its decision pushed back several times, and its new deadline is now July 3 as well.
To be built by Danish firm Orsted, that wind farm would consist of 231 turbines and at 2.4GW would be the world’s largest, with the capacity to power 2 million homes.
Therese Coffey says proposals for a huge 30-acre electricity substation at Friston and the associated cabling corridor from Thorpeness for two new windfarms, if approved, would have a "devastating impact" on the area including elements of the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
This complaint letter, made on behalf of Suffolk Energy Action Solutions, concerns efforts being made by Scottish Power Renewables (SPR) to prevent persons who would otherwise have a reason to object and provide support to groups opposing SPR’s application in respect of EA1N and EA2, from opposing the application for consent. The nub of the complaint concerns the fact that in the course of concluding agreements with landowners, SPR is including a clause which makes agreement conditional upon the individual landowner concerned not opposing the application and withdrawing any evidence already given.
The seven closest town and parish councils likely to suffer the brunt of the disruption and chaos from the onshore development of Scottish Powers EA1N & EA2 wind farms have sent a joint letter to Steve Gallant leader at East Suffolk District Council. The letter expresses surprise and disappointment at the councils unexpected about face from an ‘object’ position to a ‘neutral’ position