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Council pledges to fight for north Norfolk residents over wind farm development

PUBLISHED: 13:56 05 December 2017 | UPDATED: 13:56 05 December 2017

13 people spoke out against the development at the NNDC meeting. Picture: David Bale

13 people spoke out against the development at the NNDC meeting. Picture: David Bale

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Residents turned out in force at a council meeting to express their concerns about the potential onshore impact of a huge wind farm in north Norfolk.

Cable route for proposed Norfolk Vanguard project. Picture: Vattenfall Cable route for proposed Norfolk Vanguard project. Picture: Vattenfall

Vattenfall’s Norfolk Vanguard offshore wind farm development would be situated about 47km north-east of Winterton, and would generate enough electricity to supply about 1.3m homes and meet two per cent of the UK’s annual energy demand.

Thirteen people spoke against the plans at a meeting of North Norfolk District Council’s Cabinet, as part of a consultation, on Monday, December 4.

The council will now set up a cabinet sub-committee tasked with achieving the best outcome for the people in north Norfolk, and write to Vattenfall with its concerns.

Council leader Tom FitzPatrick said: “This meeting has shown a real strength of feeling about these plans. People feel there should be more engagement with Vattenfall. We will continue to go for the best option for the people of north Norfolk.”

Construction on Vattenfall's Vanguard project could begin as early as 2020-2021. Picture: Vattenfall Construction on Vattenfall's Vanguard project could begin as early as 2020-2021. Picture: Vattenfall

Nigel Dixon, deputy leader of the council, reassured concerned residents that the council would keep on talking to Vattenfall.

He said: “This is not a one-shot response. There will be ongoing dialogue to reinforce those areas of concern.

One of the key discussion points was around the different infrastructure needs associated with the two different potential transmission methods between the turbine field and the National Grid infrastructure - High Voltage Alternating Current (HVAC) or High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC).

The HVDC transmission system does not require cable relay stations, whereas the HVAC transmission system does.

The wind farm has to be linked up to the National Grid by way of a landfall, at Cart Gap, near Happisburgh, and onshore cabling system.

Residents are in favour of the DC option, which they say would have less visual impact, and not require a cable station at either East Ruston or Ridlington.

Eric Seward, North Walsham North ward member, added: “The DC option should be the one pursued. We’ve got to keep pushing for them to accept that option. So far, this has been a public relations disaster for Vattenfall. There has been a loss of public confidence in them.”

Ruari Lean, Vattenfall’s project manager, said: “We have been delighted to meet with over 2,500 people in north Norfolk during these early design stages.

“Moving forward, continuing to work with North Norfolk District Council and its proposed sub-committee is precisely the kind of engagement between us, residents and councillors that the planning process for nationally significant infrastructure projects is designed to encourage.

“Working with councils helps us bring forward projects that minimise local impact, maximise local job creation and helps establish Norfolk as an economically important world class centre for fossil-free offshore wind.

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