Susan Osben, Aldeburgh Librarian, Open Floor Hearings 4 (OFH4), Thursday 5 November 2020

From Susan Osben

I am opposed to the proposed building of a substation at Friston by Scottish Power Renewables for both East Anglia One North and East Anglia Two.

Whilst I fully support the move towards renewable energy, I think this needs to be done with a proper regard for the protection of our environment. At present, it seems that the applications are driven entirely by profitability with little or no care for the irreparable destruction of the unique and fragile habitats which make up our AONB. All this comes at a time when there are plenty of cautionary voices warning us of the harm we are doing to our planet by the reckless destruction of natural landscapes by industrialisation. David Attenborough tells us that we have a very small window in which to take action.

The present “gold-rush” in the North Sea, where swathes of seabed are being sold off to the highest bidder is an immense danger to our Heritage Coast because each company is out for its own individual gain. There is no sharing of infrastructure and this is leading to a multitude of landfall sites around our fragile coastline. A joined-up plan is needed for the future, a national strategy which protects environments, homes, habitats and livelihoods. This is not an impossible pipe-dream. Other European countries are implementing off-shore ring mains and this would vastly reduce the onshore impact of multiple energy projects.

I would argue that the proposals do not have regard for the purpose of conserving and enhancing the natural beauty of the AONB.  Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty are the most beautiful and cherished landscapes in England. They are rightly regarded as a treasured natural resource and are internationally recognised for their special qualities. We need to be preserving these as genuine landscapes for life for future generations.

I don’t believe that Scottish Power have shown evidence that they have looked sufficiently into avoiding affecting a protected site or area with their choice of site. “Green energy” is not so green when it destroys our AONB.

I would like to be able to say that my generation was the one that finally took notice of the damage we are doing to our planet. Wind energy has its place, in conjunction with other renewable energy solutions, but there are better ways of delivering this than tearing up our AONB. What sort of legacy is this for future generations?

I believe that the harm caused can never be mitigated. The construction process would lead to unacceptable noise and light pollution which would impact on the health and wellbeing of residents and wildlife alike. The cliffs at Thorpeness are notoriously fragile in common with most of our coastline, with a fatality having occurred there only a year ago.

Finally, I would like to comment on the consultation process which I believe was rushed and inadequate. As the manager of the local library I was in a unique position to see how people reacted to the process. Aldeburgh Library hosted the Consultation documents for the 2nd to last round of consultation. This ran to very many volumes of Lever arch files. When they arrived, I requested a summary document and/or an index to navigate the multiple volumes. Scottish Power were unable to provide either. I think this was an insult to members of the public, effectively locking them out of being able to form an opinion based on the information available. Members of the public who came to view the documents were overwhelmed by the information on offer and, universally, unable to navigate their way through it. The whole exercise was lacking in transparency and was not accessible in any useful way. The next round of consultation was only available online or at a couple of selected venues, rendering this round even more inaccessible to most as the one before.

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