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Energy firm criticised for offshore wind farm planning application

PUBLISHED: 06:55 20 June 2018

Orsted’s Race Bank Offshore Wind Farm, located off the north Norfolk coast. Picture: Alasdair Smith/Courtesy of Orsted

Orsted's Race Bank Offshore Wind Farm, located off the north Norfolk coast. Picture: Alasdair Smith/Courtesy of Orsted

Alasdair Smith

An energy firm hoping to build a wind farm off the coast of north Norfolk has been criticised for ignoring concerns before submitting a planning application.

Map of underground cable corridors for the Vattenfall (blue line) and Orsted (red line) offshore wind farms. Image: ArchantMap of underground cable corridors for the Vattenfall (blue line) and Orsted (red line) offshore wind farms. Image: Archant

Danish energy giant Orsted submitted an application for the Hornsea Project Three windfarm to the planning inspectorate on Monday, May 14, which has been accepted for consultation.

But the chair of a group dedicated to protecting the region’s coastline said the firm had a “total inability to take part in a meaningful consultation.”

If approved, the wind farm would be situated 121km off the north Norfolk coast, where up to 300 offshore wind turbines could generate electricity.

A cable corridor stretching from Weybourne on the north Norfolk coast to an electrical substation at Swardeston, south of Norwich, would transport the electricity to the National grid.

The proposed site of the Hornsea Project Three offshore windfarm, about 120k from Trimingham on the north Norfolk coast. Picture; DONG ENERGYThe proposed site of the Hornsea Project Three offshore windfarm, about 120k from Trimingham on the north Norfolk coast. Picture; DONG ENERGY

The electricity can be carried either through AC (alternating current) or DC (direct current).

Campaigners favour the DC current option which avoids the need for relay stations being built in the countryside.

But Orsted have applied for planning permission for both methods of transmission.

Friends of North Norfolk chairman, Godfrey Sayers, said: “The main point I would make is our total frustration with Orsted from their total inability to take part in a meaningful consultation.

Artist and former fisherman Godfrey Sayers at Blakeney Harbour. He has written a book called Once Upon a Tide, reflecting on the North Norfolk Coast.

Pictrue: MARK BULLIMOREArtist and former fisherman Godfrey Sayers at Blakeney Harbour. He has written a book called Once Upon a Tide, reflecting on the North Norfolk Coast. Pictrue: MARK BULLIMORE

“Everyone said we would like Orsted to use DC but when they responded to the consultation they didn’t mention it.

“They would not commit themselves to one or the other option because in planning terms they didn’t have to.

“I think they realise that with big national infrastructure projects, democracy is pretty far down the list.”

An Orsted spokesperson said: “We’ve always said we will apply for consent for both HVDC and AC technologies to enable us to make the most informed decision for this project.

“As both technologies carry different requirements in terms of onshore construction, it’s important to be fully open and transparent and have all the options on the table, rather than potentially having to make changes later down the line.”

A North Norfolk District Council spokesperson said they would submit a response to the planning application by July 22.

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