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'Tsunami' of energy projects could blight life in east Suffolk - warning

PUBLISHED: 07:30 25 March 2019

Progress being made on ScottishPower Renewables' East Anglia ONE offshore wind farm project 
Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Progress being made on ScottishPower Renewables' East Anglia ONE offshore wind farm project Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2018

Campaigners fighting plans for a huge wind farm substation say they fear a "tsunami of major energy projects" over the next decade which will wreck life for people living in coastal Suffolk.

Offshore wind sector deal being launched at ScottishPower Renewables' East Anglia ONE Operations and Maintenance base Picture: ROB HOWARTHOffshore wind sector deal being launched at ScottishPower Renewables' East Anglia ONE Operations and Maintenance base Picture: ROB HOWARTH

As well as proposals for the 30-acre site at Grove Wood, Friston, and a seven-mile cable trench across countryside, plans are afoot for a twin reactor nuclear power plant at Sizewell, plus two major industrial-scale National Grid projects called Nautilus and Eurolink to share power with Belgium and Holland, and a number of other projects.

Campaign group Substation Action / Save East Suffolk (SASES) say the substation will have a “massive impact” on the area and are deeply worried about the cumulative impact of all the projects being planned as part of the east coast being marketed as an “energy hub”.

A spokesman for the group said: “We still need answers as to why East Suffolk is facing a tsunami of seven major energy projects over the next 10-plus years.

“ScottishPower are calling this their ‘final’ consultation, but it seems like nothing has changed, it’s getting worse.

The substation for the East Anglia ONE offshore has been successfully installed Picture: EAST ANGLIA ONE.The substation for the East Anglia ONE offshore has been successfully installed Picture: EAST ANGLIA ONE.

“ScottishPower’s paperstorm of over 16,000 pages, is a case of quantity over quality. The Planning Inspectorate, which is meant to be the guardian of the planning process, is failing to hold ScottishPower or National Grid to account.

“Energy companies need to show they can respect the unique landscape of East Suffolk, the Suffolk coast and the communities that choose to live and work here.”

SASES claims the energy sector has “no long-term strategic plan for the transmission of electricity whether generated by wind, nuclear or other sources” and this will blight east Suffolk unless tackled urgently.

Phase 4 consultation over the Friston plan ends on Tuesday, March 26, part of the proposals for the East Anglia TWO and East Anglia ONE North offshore windfarm projects to provide electricity for 1.5million homes.

A spokesperson for ScottishPower Renewables said: “We are a responsible and experienced developer and have been consulting with the community groups and other local stakeholders to help shape and inform our proposals. Through consultation responses, we have created an extensive mitigation plan and will look to minimise any impacts where possible. We are keen to continue this valuable dialogue with the community and encourage as many people as possible to provide feedback on this stage of consultation before March 26.”

Consultation responses can be sent to eastangliaonenorth@scottishpower.com

ScottishPower officials looked at seven sites, carrying out detailed analysis, before choosing Friston and then revisited a potential site at Sizewell before settling on the inland site.

The company said: “Large parts of the Eastern section of the search area falls within the AONB which, due to planning constraints, led us to look West. Based on the results of our technical studies, expert advice and stakeholder engagement, the area closest to Friston appears to be the most appropriate location for further development. To input the power generated by the windfarms into the grid, our substations need to be built close to the existing Sizewell pylon line.”

Suffolk Coastal deputy leader Geoff Holdcroft said the Friston site would have “significant adverse impacts on the landscape, heritage assets and the local community”, while Suffolk County Council said it was “gravely concerned”.

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