Norfolk village angered by naming of wind farm substation

The substation at Necton for the Dudgeon offshore wind farm. Photo: Ole Jorgen Bratland/Statoil

The substation at Necton for the Dudgeon offshore wind farm. Photo: Ole Jorgen Bratland/Statoil - Credit: Archant

A substation that was built in a Norfolk village to support a large off shore wind farm has caused controversy due to a newly erected sign.

Protest in Necton. Picture: Jenny Smedley

Protest in Necton. Picture: Jenny Smedley - Credit: Archant

The sign for the substation in Necton, near Swaffham, was put up at the beginning of December and reads 'Necton Substation' but many of those living in the community say the sign should be changed as they do not want their village to be linked to the site.

The residents fear that by putting the village name on the substation, which is operated by the National Grid and linked to a wind farm owned by Dudgeon, it will result in Necton being permanently associated with the site and in turn impact house prices.

Jenny Smedley, leader of a substation action group in Necton, said: 'This sign is just another example of how the people on the ground are disregarded. It's perfectly obvious that any house-hunters coming along the A47 will see that sign and the name Necton will be coupled with substation immediately and could easily put them off.'

The issue is now set to be debated in an upcoming parish council meeting, where a number of residents will call for the sign to be changed to read 'Dudgeon substation'.

However, it is not clear if the community's demands can or will be met as it would mean breaking away from a nationwide naming convention that has been employed by National Grid.

'Our substations are always given the name of a nearby village to aid locating the site, particularly for safety reasons in the event that the emergency services need to be called out,' a National Grid spokesperson said.

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'We take the same approach elsewhere on our network when a new site is established.'

Two more substations could be built on edge of the village, measuring up to 25 metres high and covering around 18 acres each, if plans for two offshore wind farms from energy company Vattenfall are given the go-ahead.

The plans would also see the Dudgeon substation treble in size from five acres to 17.

Necton residents have been campaigning to stop the development and played a key part in the debate about how wind farm infrastructure will impact Norfolk.

The parish council meeting will take place at 7.30pm on January 8 at Necton Rural Community Centre.