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Councils favour AONB site for controversial new substation

PUBLISHED: 05:30 13 November 2018 | UPDATED: 09:38 13 November 2018

The AONB site at Broom Covert Picture: BRIDGET CHADWICK

The AONB site at Broom Covert Picture: BRIDGET CHADWICK

BRIDGET CHADWICK

Three Suffolk councils are throwing their weight behind plans for a controversial new electricity substation to be sited in an AONB - as it is the "lesser of two evils".

Members of the Save Our Sandlings group, pictured at the AONB site where a substation could be built Picture: PETER CHADWICKMembers of the Save Our Sandlings group, pictured at the AONB site where a substation could be built Picture: PETER CHADWICK

The Broom Covert site, between Leiston and Sizewell, is an alternative location for Scottish Power Renewables’ (SPR) 30-acre substation which the energy firm had earmarked for a site in Friston.

The councils’ joint statement has been issued in response to a consultation over plans to use either Grove Wood, north of Friston, or Broom Covert, in the Suffolk Coast and Heaths AONB, for the substation.

The consultation ended yesterday, November 12.

Suffolk County Council and Suffolk Coastal and Waveney district councils have now said “greater support can be offered to the selection of the Broom Covert, Sizewell site over the Grove Wood, Friston site”.

Responding to the consultation, the councils said the final decision should limit the impact on “our unique local environment”.

In a joint statement, they said: “Our position is that neither site suggested by the power company is perfect, so we are in the position of choosing the lesser of two evils.

“However, we are repeating our call for the power companies to minimise the adverse impact on our unique local environment.”

The councils made a number of recommendations prior to Scottish Power Renewables (SPR) making a final decision on the site selection, including impact assessments and further research.

They recommended a landscape and visual impact assessment is undertaken on both sites, and more research is done into the impact on infrastructure.

The substation, which is part of SPR’s offshore windfarm project, would feature 21-metre tall buildings and transformers handling 2GW of power, to connect with the National Grid.

SPR, which would build the substation, said its new windfarm, East Anglia TWO, could supply up to 742,000 homes.

One group fighting against the proposals, Save Our Sandlings (SOS), has won the backing of celebrities, including actress Diana Quick, and former BBC Breakfast presenter Bill Turnbull.

Suffolk County Council and Suffolk Coastal and Waveney district councils took the unprecedented step of joining forces to voice their concern that SPR was not listening to the concerns of local people over the siting of the substation earlier this year.

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