The High Court has quashed permission for a large offshore wind farm off the Norfolk coast, whose onshore cables are planned to pass through the Reepham district.
The Norfolk Vanguard Offshore Wind Farm was granted consent in July by the former Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Alok Sharma.
However, Mr Justice Holgate overturned the decision following a legal challenge from Ray Pearce who lives in Salle, near the proposed cable route.
Mr Pearce argued that ministers had not taken into account the “cumulative impacts” of the project proposed by Vattenfall and had given “inadequate” reasons for not doing so. He also raised concerns about the impact the Vanguard infrastructure would have on the Norfolk landscape.
Vattenfall said it was “very disappointing outcome” but pointed out the decision “relates to the process for granting consent and is not about the merits of our world-class Norfolk Vanguard project”.
Danielle Lane, head of market development offshore and UK country manager, said the company had “fulfilled all the requirements placed on developers”, adding it was “vital that the government now acts to redetermine consent, with regard to the judge’s ruling, as quickly as possible”.
The current Secretary of State, Kwasi Kwarteng, is now considering the judgment and will decide on the next steps in due course.
The High Court decision is likely to have a knock-on effect for Vattenfall’s Norfolk Boreas project, with the government’s decision on this due in April.
However, it does not affect Ørsted’s Hornsea Project Three wind farm, which was granted consent on 31 December, or the planned Sheringham Shoal and Dudgeon extension projects, all of which could have significant effects on the Reepham district.
Several Norfolk MPs have continued to call for an offshore transmission network (a so-called “offshore ring main”) to be constructed to connect current and future wind farm projects to the country’s electricity infrastructure, although this concept is many years from being implemented.
See our earlier stories:
- Permission granted for legal challenge to offshore wind farm
- Offshore wind farm gets government approval
- Another wind farm off north Norfolk coast gets approval