Underground windfarm cables from Weybourne to Great Ryburgh set for approval

A controversial �1.5bn offshore windfarm is set to clear another hurdle, with planners looking likely to agree the north Norfolk route of the buried cables needed for the project.

A decision by North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) on the cabling from Weybourne to Great Ryburgh has been delayed since July as planners waited on Warwick Energy's appeal against refusal of its planned substation at Little Dunham.

Two government ministers threw out the appeal, and the renewable energy giant has now taken the saga to the High Court, warning failure could jeopardise the planned 168-turbine Dudgeon windfarm, 32km off the Norfolk coast.

NNDC, which was also waiting on clarification of a number of issues before resolving its part of the application, is recommending approval of the buried cables, the Breckland leg of which has already been given the go-ahead.

A report to this Thursday's development committee said the buried cables would have 'minimal impact', with the only above ground structures required being 'inspection pillars' at certain locations.

It added: 'Clearly, during the construction phase the 40m wide working corridor would have a substantial visual impact upon the landscape, but this would be for a temporary period only.'

The report said information from a soil consultant had assured officers that the design and installation of the cables would 'negate or minimise' subsequent impact on crop growth.

Most Read

And it said: 'It is considered that wind energy development off the north Norfolk coastline is expected to generate positive economic effects for north Norfolk and the wider area over the next 40-plus years.

'The effect on the local economy is considered to be beneficial, and will have a positive effect through direct employment opportunities, as well as through construction, supply chain and maintenance activities.'

Mark Petterson, executive director of Warwick Energy, said the windfarm had the potential to power an average of 400,000 homes each day, with the figure rising and falling depending on the weather.

He said: 'We still believe that Little Dunham is the right place for the substation, but we are reviewing alternatives.

'The route of the cables through north Norfolk is not affected by the location of the substation.'

He added: 'We are still hoping to produce our first power in 2015. As long as we don't have too much more delay with the planning process, we anticipate being able to do that.

'I think North Norfolk District Council has reviewed and understood that, particularly in these economic times, the impacts of projects like these are very important to the area.'

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter