Another offshore wind farm gets government green light

Another offshore wind farm off the Norfolk coast has been given the green light by Business and Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng, who has granted planning consent for Vattenfall’s Norfolk Boreas project. The Swedish energy company said construction is expected to begin in 2023.

Photo: Vattenfall

The project’s onshore cables, to be laid in four 1.5-metre-wide trenches from Happisburgh to an expanded substation at Necton, will pass through the Reepham district and cross cabling from another planned wind farm, the 2.4-gigawatt Hornsea Project Three being built by Danish energy company Ørsted, which received development consent last December.
Together with the Sheringham Shoal and Dudgeon Extension Projects, whose cables are planned to pass to the east of Cawston, these could all bring significant disruption to Reepham and surrounding villages over the next few years.
Business leaders hailed the latest ruling an economic boost for Norfolk, creating jobs and placing the region at the forefront of the renewable energy sector.
Danielle Lane, UK country manager for Vattenfall, said: “This announcement and decision is a multi-billion pound boost to the UK’s climate change progress and keeps the East of England at the forefront of the green energy revolution.
“There will be a wealth of supply chain opportunities for companies, as well high-skilled green jobs, coming directly to Norfolk.”
However, the Norfolk Boreas decision went against the recommendation of the Planning Inspectorate, which had said permission should not be granted, primarily because of the wind farm’s effects on offshore birdlife and the marine environment, but also because of the adverse impact on traffic, transport and the landscape.
But Mr Kwarteng decided these concerns were outweighed by the benefits from the development, particularly its contribution towards meeting national renewable energy needs.
Meanwhile, a decision on Vattenfall’s Norfolk Vanguard offshore wind farm, which will use the same cable corridor as the Norfolk Boreas project, has yet to be made.
The development consent order for that scheme was withdrawn and is being re-determined following a successful legal challenge in the High Court by former pilot Ray Pearce, who lives in Salle, near Reepham.
Opponents of plans to dig cable trenches across the Norfolk countryside have vowed to study the latest decision and challenge it if they feel it is unlawful.
With the government’s offshore transmission network review due to issue a report next month, campaigners have expressed disappointment with the Norfolk Boreas announcement, but added they were not surprised with the decision.
Earlier, Vattenfall unveiled plans to invest more than £15 million in community projects across Norfolk. The first round of cash from the 25-year Norfolk Zone Community Benefit Fund will be unlocked in late 2023 when cable laying work is expected to begin.
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