Norfolk ecologists contracted to Vattenfall offshore wind farm projects
- Credit: Vattenfall
More than a dozen ecologists are lending their services to the developer behind two major new wind farms off the Norfolk cost.
The specialists from Norfolk Wildlife Services (NWS) have been contracted to survey the onshore development area of Vattenfall's Norfolk Vanguard and Norfolk Boreas developments.
Up to 15 ecologists will survey bat activity, reptiles, invertebrates, botany and breeding birds at key habitat areas around the area – a 50km route from landfall of the wind farm's electricity cable between Bacton and south of Happisburgh to the existing National Grid substation at Necton.
The work will continue through the summer months, with a final report expected in October.
Ruari Lean, Vattenfall's project manager for Norfolk Vanguard, said: 'We want to see the Norfolk economy benefit from Norfolk Vanguard and Norfolk Boreas, so it's great to see NWS pick up this work.
'The local knowledge it brings will be important to ensure we have all the information we need to ensure we design and build the onshore electrical works with minimum impact on the environment.'
Chris Smith, consultancy manager at Norwich-based NWS, said: 'Complex decisions require detailed data. This is potentially the longest linear project we have ever worked on – stretching more than 50km.
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'It is extremely positive that a local consultancy has been chosen and that we have been involved so early on in this process.'
Vattenfall is currently assessing the feedback from a recent public engagement campaign in the county.
The feedback and ecological data will determine the next design stage, with refined options for onshore infrastructure to be revealed in the summer.
A preliminary environmental impact report, informed by NWS findings, will be published later this year, and will be followed by further consultation with the public in a third series of drop-in exhibitions.
The proposed Vanguard and Boreas projects will see turbines built between 45km and 75km off the coast at Great Yarmouth.
Together the wind farms could generate up to 3.6GW – enough energy to power 2.6m homes.
Vattenfall has said it is likely to need up to 160 technicians and managers for the projects by the mid-2020s.