"Untold damage" to Suffolk Coast if windfarms approved, says council"

EADT article: "Untold damage" to Suffolk Coast if windfarms approved, says council", by Jason Nobel Local democracy reporter, PUBLISHED: 11:30 15 January 2020

"Untold damage" to Suffolk coast if windfarms approved, says council

Council chiefs have objected to proposals for two offshore windfarms on the Suffolk coast, claiming it will do "untold damage" to the area.

Richard Rout, Suffolk County Council cabinet member for environment and public protection said there were issues around the proposal. Picture: SUFFOLK COUNTY COUNCIL
Richard Rout, Suffolk County Council cabinet member for environment and public protection said there were issues around the proposal. Picture: SUFFOLK COUNTY COUNCIL

Scottish Power Renewables have submitted plans for two windfarms, which also includes a cable route overland through Thorpeness and Leiston, as well as three substations in Friston.

Suffolk County Council's cabinet on Tuesday afternoon said it backed the principle of renewable energy projects, but could not support the scheme as it had not been developed thoroughly.

Among the issues raised were the visual impact on the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, impact on tourism, the severe effects on the village of Friston, doubts about the planting mitigation, noise and disturbance on communities and road networks.

Richard Rout, Conservative cabinet member for environment, said: "These proposals, if approved, would together provide enough clean electricity to power approximately 1.5 million homes.

Liberal Democrat Cllr Penny Otton raised fears over the impact on the coastal tourist industry. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN
Liberal Democrat Cllr Penny Otton raised fears over the impact on the coastal tourist industry. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

"There is also a positive economic impact associated with these proposals. The operation and maintenance facilities associated with the windfarms would provide tens of millions of pounds worth of investment in the region.

"However, as a local authority, our first consideration must always be our residents. Yes, these projects could bring crucial renewable energy and economic benefits but this must not be delivered at any cost.

"We must cherish our AONBs and safeguard them from the impacts of development as much as possible. As this report makes clear, we do not believe that these proposals from Scottish Power Renewables do that.

"We must continue to raise with government our very real worries around the lack of a co-ordinated approach to energy projects on and around the Suffolk coast."

The objections have been welcomed by the council's opposition Labour and Liberal Democrat, Green and Independent groups.

Penny Otton, Liberal Democrat, Green and Independent group leader, said: "I am really pleased to hear the comments from the cabinet members.

"There would be a significant impact on the current tourism industry, particularly in the area of the AONB.

"These are nationally and internationally recognised as part of the tourist industry of Suffolk and I think it would be an absolute disaster to put that in jeopardy."

The cabinet welcomed the principle of the development but formally objected to the location of the substations and development around Friston.

The Planning Inspector will receive all representations on the issue by January 27, although is not expected to make a final recommendation to the secretary of state until the end of the year or early 2021.

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