Plans for a massive wind farm project off the Norfolk coast have been dramatically halted in a major blow for the county's burgeoning energy industry.

Swedish company Vattenfall announced today that it had halted plans for its Norfolk Boreas project.

The company said costs for the scheme had soared by 40pc due to inflation and it was pausing the project.

The massive wind farm was given the government go-ahead in 2021 and major work, including digging trenches for cables, is due to commence this year.

The Boreas scheme would consist of between 90 and 156 turbines, up to 350 metres tall.

The cable route would travel almost 40 miles, from Happisburgh to an expanded substation at Necton.

Eastern Daily Press: Vattenfall's map showing where the cables from its wind farms would goVattenfall's map showing where the cables from its wind farms would go (Image: Vattenfall/CHPV)

But the halt on the scheme was announced by Vattenfall in the company's half-yearly report.

Eastern Daily Press: Anna Borg, president and chief executive officer of VattenfallAnna Borg, president and chief executive officer of Vattenfall (Image: Vattenfall)

Anna Borg, Vattenfall president and chief executive, said: "Although demand for fossil-free electricity is greater than ever, the market for offshore wind power is challenging.

"Higher inflation and  capital costs are affecting the entire energy sector, but the geopolitical situation has made offshore wind and its supply chain particularly 

"Overall, we see cost increases up to 40pc. This development affects future profitability and means that Vattenfall makes an impairment for wind power in Norfolk, UK, with a total impact on earnings of SEK [Swedish Krona] 5.5 billion.

"We have decided to stop the development of Norfolk Boreas in its current form and not take an investment decision now due to mentioned factors, which triggers the impairment."

And the decision could have a knock-on effect on the other windfarm projects Vattenfall has in the pipeline off the Norfolk coast.

She said: "We will examine the best way forward for the entire Norfolk Zone, which in addition to Boreas also includes the Vanguard East and West projects.

"Over the past decade, Vattenfall has built up its wind operations which today is a valuable and profitable business generating an underlying profit of more than SEK 16 billion last year.

"We have attractive wind power projects in the pipeline, and investment decisions 
will always be based on profitability.

"We are convinced that offshore wind power is crucial for energy security and meeting the climate goals in Europe."

READ MORE: MP Peter Aldous calls for better infrastructure for region

The development of wind farms in the North Sea has previously been hailed as an economic boost for Norfolk, creating jobs, boosting businesses and placing the region at the forefront of the burgeoning renewable energy sector.

Vattenfall says the Boreas wind farm - and a second scheme called Vanguard - could power more than 3.9 million homes in the United Kingdom.

Danish company Ørsted also has permission for a major wind farm project, called Hornsea Three, off the county's coast.

However, the projects are controversial, with concerns over the impact on the Norfolk countryside caused by the construction of multiple substations and the trenches which will need to be dug for cables.

The method of getting the power from the wind farms to the National Grid has also triggered controversy.

Eastern Daily Press: Plans for pylons have sparked controversyPlans for pylons have sparked controversy (Image: Archant)

National Grid wants to build pylons stretching 112 miles from Dunston, just south of Norwich to Tilbury on the Thames Estuary, to carry the power to homes in London and the South East.

That has sparked opposition from MPs, councillors and pressure groups, who say the pylons will blight the countryside.

They have called for the electricity to travel through undersea cables, but National Grid says that would be too costly and the capacity would not be as high.