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Parish council hits out at windfarm company for ‘chaotic’ consultation events

PUBLISHED: 13:43 19 December 2017 | UPDATED: 16:01 19 December 2017

One of Vattenfall's windfarms, at Kentish Flats. Pic: Robin Dawe/ Perfectly Clear Marketing

One of Vattenfall's windfarms, at Kentish Flats. Pic: Robin Dawe/ Perfectly Clear Marketing

Robin Dawe/ Perfectly Clear Marketing

A village in Norfolk has hit out at the company behind two of the county’s largest offshore wind farm projects after public consultations were found to be confusing and error-prone.

A workshop during the July consultation invited Necton residents to provide feedback on post-it notes. Picture: Jenny Smedley A workshop during the July consultation invited Necton residents to provide feedback on post-it notes. Picture: Jenny Smedley

Necton will be one of the main areas in Norfolk to feel the impact of Vattenfall’s two proposed wind farms due to the substations that will be built on the outskirts of the village.

To keep residents informed the energy company has been holding a series of public consultations between October 2016 and July 2017, but Necton Parish Council has claimed in a letter, published on December 8, that the consultations led to numerous complaints from residents.

The council labelled an event held in July as “unprofessional and chaotic” and cited problems such as changes to the schedule, limited acknowledgement of disability needs and a lack of regard for the sensitivities of concerned residents.

They also said that there was various errors in the information provided, resulting in confusion among residents, and raised concerns over a temporary works area which will overlap an archaeological site, including the recorded area of a medieval moat.

Location of proposed infrastructure in Necton based on the recently released PEIR document. Picture: Vattenfall Location of proposed infrastructure in Necton based on the recently released PEIR document. Picture: Vattenfall

In response, Ruari Lean, project manager for Vattenfall’s Norfolk Vanguard project, called the community response “really helpful”, adding the company welcomed feedback about the archaeological site.

He said they would seek to “avoid, minimise or mitigate” the impact.

In addition to taking issue with the organisation of the consultations, the council said the village still does not understand how it will benefit from the disruption caused by the long-term development and called on Vattenfall to establish a liaison group with Breckland Council to begin discussions on community benefit.

Mr Lean said the wind farms have the potential to make a “positive difference” to the workforce and environment.

“As it is early days we have asked people and organisations for their views on how to maximise local value from Vattenfall’s inward investment and we have had some great feedback on this,” he added.

“We will build on this feedback with stakeholders over the coming year and beyond and explore how local communities maximise from opportunities arising from our investment.”

MORE: Villagers hit out at plans to build huge substations for offshore wind farms

MORE: What the world’s biggest windfarms means for Norfolk

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