Backing for huge wind farm off Norfolk coast, but concerns over safety on county's roads
PUBLISHED: 09:29 10 July 2018 | UPDATED: 12:18 10 July 2018
Reassurances are being sought that the construction of the world's biggest offshore windfarm off the coast of Norfolk will not create dangerous conditions on some of the county's roads.
Norfolk County Council says it supports the principle of Danish energy giant Ørsted’s huge Hornsea Three wind farm, which would be built almost 75 miles off the Norfolk coast.
But councillors have agreed to lodge holding highways objections to the proposals for the wind farm, which would see nearly 35 miles of cables buried underground, stretching from Weybourne in north Norfolk to Swardeston to the south of Norwich.
Members of the council’s environment, development and transport committee agreed the council should inform the Planning Inspectorate, which will decide whether to recommend the secretary of state grants permission, of concerns.
The council is worried about the safety of the access to a potential booster station at Little Barningham, raising a holding objection on highway safety grounds over access there and to a substation at Swardeston.
And officers have similar concerns about safety at the scheme’s main compound at the former Oulton Airfield.
With the proposed cable route passing to the west of Norwich, the council is also keen to get assurances the work will not fetter future plans in that area.
The council wants to ensure laying the cables, which would take eight years, would not have any impact on the proposed dualling of the A47 between Easton and North Tuddenham or the potential Western Link to connect Broadland Northway to the A47.
Despite the concerns, councillors supported the overall principle of the wind farm.
Terry Jermy, Labour councillor for Thetford West, said: “I completely understand the local concerns and I hope we can address them. But I think there’s a huge opportunity here to be this county to get world recognition for our renewable energy sector.”
A spokesman for Ørsted said: “The Hornsea Project Three Offshore Wind Farm is a major national infrastructure project which would deliver a significant amount of green energy to the UK.
“As a responsible developer we work closely with local authorities, stakeholders and residents to ensure our projects are delivered safely and avoid adverse impact wherever possible.
“As part of our application, we have produced an outline construction traffic management plan which establishes the principles that would be implemented by our contractors to minimise the potential impacts associated with transportation during construction as safely as possible.
“We will continue to develop these outline management plans with Norfolk County Council and are confident that any outstanding concerns can be addressed through the established application examination process.
“With regards to future plans for duelling of the A47 and potential Western Link Road, the project is liaising with Highways England and Norfolk County Council and is confident that the placement of one project does not fetter the ability to deliver another project.”