Concern over plans for new windfarms

The environmental impact of plans for three giant offshore windfarms on the Norfolk coast should be considered together rather than one by one, council officials will warn this week.

The environmental impact of plans for three giant offshore windfarms on the Norfolk coast should be considered together rather than one by one, council officials will warn this week.

County councillors are being urged to register formal objections to one giant offshore site on the Greater Wash amid concerns about potential damage to Norfolk's coastline and because the details of two more offshore wind farms have yet to be revealed.

Officials are concerned that the sites should not be looked at individually - arguing instead for a comprehensive study to look at the impact of all three sites.

Norfolk County Council's planning and highway delegations committee will decide on Friday whether to register an objection to the planned second phase of an offshore wind farm off the Lincolnshire coast.

If it was approved, the British Gas Lincs Wind Farm, off Skegness, would generate electricity for tens of thousands of homes - but its 40 to 80 turbines would stand 18 kilometres from the coast of Hunstanton and Brancaster.

The power from the 100 metre high turbines would come ashore in west Norfolk at Walpole through undersea power cables.

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At least two more wind farms being planned along the north Norfolk coast, one at Race Bank, the other at Docking Shoal - although planning applications have yet to be submitted to the Department for Trade and Industry (Dti).

In their report to Friday's meeting, officials state: “The combined effort of these schemes could significantly detract from the sense of remoteness when viewed from the Norfolk coast.”

The officials add: “Given the strong likelihood of the Race Bank and Docking Shoal wind farms coming forward, it is felt appropriate that all three schemes should be considered together and their combined impact assessed accordingly.

“To date there has been a rather piecemeal approach taken by the development industry to the submission of offshore wind farms around the Norfolk coast.”

Officers recommend that on a precautionary basis, an objection ought to be lodged against the Lincs Wind Farm until the wider cumulative impacts are satisfactorily addressed.

The report recommends that the county council sends a letter to the Dti, which will have the final say on the planning application, airing its concerns.

Officers do not raise an objection to the on-shore elements of the scheme which would include underground cable route and access roads and an extension to the existing substation at Walpole.