Campaigners seek judicial review of 'harmful' Suffolk substation plans

Campaigners want a judicial review into a planned sub-station as part of an offshore wind farm project

Campaigners want a judicial review into a planned sub-station as part of an offshore wind farm project - Credit: JULIAN CLAXTON/CHV

Campaigners are seeking a judicial review into the construction of two eight-acre substations near a Suffolk village as part of an offshore wind farm project. 

Substation Action Save East Suffolk (SASES) fears plans to create the substations at Friston will have a harmful impact on the village and the surrounding countryside. 

The infrastructure is part of the development of East Anglia One North and East Anglia Two off the Suffolk coast and will receive electricity generated by these wind farms. 

Business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has given the go-ahead for Scottish Power Renewables’ proposals, which could generate 1,600Mw of electricity – enough to power 1.2 million homes. 

But SASES and other campaign groups say an electricity platform should be created offshore and the power delivered by cable to where it is needed. 

There are six main grounds for the judicial review, including flood risk and heritage impact, noise impact, the cumulative effect of five energy projects connecting at Friston and the failure to adequately consider alternative sites. 

A spokesman for SASES said: “SASES strongly supports offshore wind and has only taken this action due to the deep flaws in the onshore aspects of these projects and the associated decision making.” 

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Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey has also met Mr Kwarteng to seek assurances that future applications undergo a rigorous site selection process and that cumulative impact is taken into consideration. 

Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey

Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey - Credit: GREGG BROWN

The government is set to announce new national energy guidelines which will oblige applicants to demonstrate that they have chosen the best locations for substations and that they have considered the cumulative impact of that choice. 

However, these new policies are too late for the Friston decision, which will only be changed if the judicial review proves successful. 

Speaking about the meeting, Ms Coffey said: “I also pressed upon him the need for National Grid to be upfront with the locations that they’ve already offered onshore connections to.  

“I’m furious that despite raising it several years ago, they haven’t yet looked into my suggested alternative at Bradwell in Essex, the site of a disused nuclear power station. I have asked the Secretary of State to consider this.” 

“With Sizewell B, the prospect of Sizewell C and large amounts of North Sea wind power coming ashore in the county, I’m concerned from an environmental and energy security point of view that too much onshore energy infrastructure is being concentrated into our small bit of Suffolk.  

“I’m determined to try and change this.” 

Scottish Power Renewables could not be reached for comment, but a spokesman previously told this newspaper: “Offshore wind is exactly what’s needed to get more clean, green, home-grown electricity onto the grid, so we can reduce our dependency on gas and reach net zero."  

Friston could be host to a 30-acre substation as part of the infrastructure for offshore windfarms

Friston could be host to a 30-acre substation as part of the infrastructure for offshore windfarms - Credit: SASES

The spokesman said both East Anglia ONE North and East Anglia TWO were "designed to support the UK’s green energy security and help turn the government’s ambitions for offshore wind into reality".