Residents of a small hamlet near Reepham have expressed dismay at proposed changes to a windfarm cable route that could now pass close to houses in Pettywell – without any consultation.
Swedish energy group Vattenfall, which is developing two large windfarms off the North Norfolk coast, recently announced a strategic decision to back high-voltage direct current (HVDC) cable technology to connect the windfarms to the National Grid.
Addressing this week’s meeting of Reepham Town Council, Sue Falch-Lovesey, Vattenfall UK’s local liaison officer for the Norfolk Vanguard and Boreas projects, said this will avoid the need for cable relay stations and result in a much narrower (from 100 metres to 45 metres) onshore cable corridor from landfall near Happisburgh to a substation near Necton, 60 kilometres away.
It will also reduce the number of cables within the trench to just 6–8, compared with 36 for the high-voltage alternating current (HVAC) technology, she said, and there will be less construction traffic as a result.
Long-range horizontal direction drilling will be used at landfall and to avoid impact on all county wildlife sites and a number of local amenity and tourism sites, such as the Marriott’s Way.
She added that the use of HVDC technology will result in a much reduced electromagnetic radiation field compared with HVAC.
It is understood the route was changed partly because of objections to the original route, which would have passed through or near the remains of St Mary’s church in Kerdiston.
Ms Falch-Lovesey stressed that Vattenfall would also be working to ensure alternative access to the Fiddler’s Field allotments off World’s End Lane during the onshore construction phase in Reepham.
At the council meeting, concerned Pettywell residents expressed disappointment at not being consulted over the new route, which now sees the possibility of cables being laid to the east of the hamlet.
“Vattenfall should not have been able to make this change without further local consultation,” said one resident. “They need to re-consult.”
Ms Falch-Lovesey said discussions are ongoing with directly affected landowners, although the company is not required to notify, or consult with, nearby residents.
Broadland District Councillor Graham Everett said he was furious with the “unacceptable” decision and will be asking Vattenfall to conduct a further consultation or, at the very least, arrange an open meeting with concerned parishioners as soon as possible.
Cllr Everett suggests that anyone with any concerns about the existing or revised route around Reepham should email Catrin Ellis Jones, Sue Falch-Lovesey or the general email before 28 March.
Vattenfall says it will submit final plans for the 1.8 GW Norfolk Vanguard to the Planning Inspectorate in June. Norfolk Boreas, also 1.8 GW, is following Norfolk Vanguard in the planning process.
If approved, the onshore cable route for both projects could be constructed during 2022/2023, with cable trenching being carried out at a rate of 150 metres a week.
- The interactive map showing the revised cable route can be viewed HERE – zoom in to Reepham.
See our earlier stories:
- Wind farm operators announce changes to onshore cable proposals
- Offshore wind farm developer publishes feedback from workshops
- Proposed wind farm cable route threatens ‘lost’ medieval church
- Energy firms reveal underground cable routes