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Seaside village singled out for wind farm cable landfall

PUBLISHED: 15:48 20 May 2020 | UPDATED: 18:46 20 May 2020

Energy firm Equinor is looking to expand its existing offshore wind farms off Cromer and Sheringham. Picture: Jan Arne Wold

Energy firm Equinor is looking to expand its existing offshore wind farms off Cromer and Sheringham. Picture: Jan Arne Wold

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A popular spot on the north Norfolk coast has been chosen as the place cabling would come ashore should plans to expand two wind farms be approved.

Norwegian energy firm Equinor wants to build 34 new turbines at its Dudgeon wind farm, offshore from Cromer, and 27 turbines at Sheringham Shoal wind farm.

Planners were unsure about whether to have the cabling for the sites come ashore at Weybourne or Bacton. After a “technical and environmental analysis”, they plumped for Weybourne.

Kari Hege Mørk, Equinor’s project leader, said: “The decision about the landfall point has been made on a balance of considerations including technical feasibility and ensuring minimum harm to the environment.

“We recognise that the community of Weybourne has been affected by the construction of previous offshore wind farms, and we want to work with the local parish council, residents and landowners to develop the plans in the most environmentally responsible and considerate way.”

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MORE: Routes revealed for another cable trench across countryside for wind farms

The firm said it would start the first phase of its community consultation this summer. The new turbines would be 326 metres high and connect to the National Grid south of Norwich at Swardeston. This would involve digging a 60km-long trench which will lead to years of construction work and harm the environment, according to Equinor’s own ‘scoping report’. But the firm has also announced it is reviewing the onshore cable route due to “other infrastructure projects and environmental sensitivities”.

North Norfolk MP Duncan Baker, along with other MPs and residents’ groups, has called on the government to stop allowing energy firms to dig up the countryside for every new offshore wind farm.

This could be done by building an offshore ring main allowing any new wind farm to connect to the National Grid at the coast.

But Equinor has dismissed that as an option.

Mr Baker said: “The north Norfolk region will see many corridors being built over the next decade, and I’m extremely worried about what that will do to our communities.

“I understand offshore wind is the best way of creating green, sustainable energy, but we want to do that without causing huge disruption.”


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