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Environmental impact of Vattenfall’s Norfolk Vanguard wind farm plans to be discussed at open days

PUBLISHED: 16:50 30 October 2017 | UPDATED: 10:01 01 November 2017

Vattenfall's offshore Norfolk Vanguard project promises to be one of the largest in the world. Picture: Vattenfall

Vattenfall's offshore Norfolk Vanguard project promises to be one of the largest in the world. Picture: Vattenfall

© Ben Barden Photography Ltd.

People whose communities could be affected by the construction of Norfolk’s largest offshore wind farm have been urged to make their feelings known at a series of public meetings.

Ruari Lean, project manager of the Norfolk Vanguard wind farm. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY Ruari Lean, project manager of the Norfolk Vanguard wind farm. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Swedish energy firm Vattenfall wants to build up to 257 turbines for its 1.8-gigawatt Norfolk Vanguard project, bringing the power ashore at a landfall south of Happisburgh, and connecting it to the National Grid at substation in Necton, near Swaffham.

The company is preparing to launch a public consultation on the potential environmental impact, both off the coast and onshore, along the 60km cable corridor running through the heart of the county.

The infrastructure could impact large swathes of Norfolk countryside and many householders have questioned how their homes will be affected and what benefits there are for the region.

In August, North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb called the Vattenfall wind farm a “major national infrastructure project”, stressing that the concerns of people across the region need to be considered, and that Norfolk should be given a “fair deal”.

READ MORE: ‘There has to be a fair deal’ - MP Norman Lamb says Norfolk should see the benefits of wind farm infrastructure

South of Happisburgh, the possibility of an 8m high onshore relay station – which would be needed along with up to 18 underground cables if the developer opts for a high voltage alternating current (HVAC) transmission – has prompted the formation of local campaign group N2RS (No to Relay Stations), which has signed up more than 400 members.

READ MORE: Vattenfall’s planned offshore wind farms are generating concerns for Norfolk farmers

Vattenfall says the plans avoid “potential environmental impacts” to places such as a country wildlife site and has confirmed that no part of the export cable will run under any house.

The company is running eight public information sessions next month to discuss the preliminary environmental information report (PEIR) which sets out the latest infrastructure layouts, what the company thinks the impacts will be, and how it proposes to minimise them.

Norfolk Vanguard project manager Ruari Lean said: “We ask everyone who is interested to tell us what they think of the information that we have published.

“We have already received a high volume of detailed feedback on residents’ concerns but also how people think Norfolk can benefit from what will be a significant inward investment in the region.

“The quality of feedback so far has been excellent and we thank those that have taken the time to engage in this process for nationally significant infrastructure projects.”

Norfolk Vanguard’s sister project named Norfolk Boreas, is at an earlier phase of planning. Vattenfall says the two projects combined will eventually have the combined capacity to power almost half of the East of England.

PUBLIC INFORMATION SESSIONS

• November 7: Dereham Sixth Form College, Crown Road, Dereham 1pm to 7pm.

• November 8: The Bircham Centre, Market Place, Reepham, 1pm to 7pm.

• November 9: Aylsham Town Hall, Town Hall, Market Place, Aylsham, 1pm to 7pm.

• November 10: Necton Rural Community Centre, 13 Tun’s Road, Necton, 1pm to 7pm.

• November 11: The Wenn Evans Centre, Blacksmiths Ln, Happisburgh, 11am to 5.30pm.

• November 14: University Technical College Norfolk, Oldhall Rd, Norwich, 2pm to 7pm.

• November 15: East Coast College, Suffolk Road, Great Yarmouth, 1pm to 7pm.

• November 16: North Walsham Community Centre, New Road, North Walsham, 1pm to 7pm.

Full PEIR documents are also available to view at libraries in Norwich, Aylsham, Dereham and North Walsham, as well as the council offices for North Norfolk, Broadland, Breckland, Norwich and Great Yarmouth.

The statutory consultation process runs from November 7 to December 11. For more details, see the Norfolk Vanguard website.

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