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Final battle over massive Friston windfarm substation set to start

PUBLISHED: 00:01 28 January 2019

Final consultation on two new windfarms off the Suffolk coast is about to get under way Picture: SCOTTISHPOWER RENEWABLES

Final consultation on two new windfarms off the Suffolk coast is about to get under way Picture: SCOTTISHPOWER RENEWABLES

Chris James

ScottishPower Renewables is embarking on its Phase 4 consultation for the proposed East Anglia TWO and East Anglia ONE North offshore windfarm projects – which protesters say will have a huge impact on the county.

Campaigners say the substation will have a huge impact on Friston Picture: SASESCampaigners say the substation will have a huge impact on Friston Picture: SASES

As part of the plans, the company is proposing to build a windfarm substation at Grove Wood, Friston, which it has decided is the “most appropriate location for development” after rejecting a site at Broom Covert, in the AONB at Sizewell.

There will also be a six-mile cable trench to bring cables across country from the coast to the site.

Geoff Holdcroft, Suffolk Coastal deputy leader, 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”.

Campaign group Substation Action/Save East Suffolk (SASES) fears it will have a “massive impact” on the community and economy.

ScottishPower Renewables' East Anglia Offshore Windfarm Projects Picture: SCOTTISHPOWER RENEWABLESScottishPower Renewables' East Anglia Offshore Windfarm Projects Picture: SCOTTISHPOWER RENEWABLES

Phase 4 – which will run until March 26 and will be the final phase of consultation – is the last chance for people to have their say.

Details of the plans and reasons for choice of substation site will be revealed in documents to be made available on ScottishPower Renewables website from Wednesday and people will be able to see them and talk to experts at 13 information exhibitions taking place from February 11.

ScottishPower Renewables said it had listened to feedback from the local community and stakeholders to develop the proposals.

Development director David Walker said: “As a responsible developer, we are keen to work with local communities and stakeholders to share the latest information on our proposals, answer questions and receive feedback.

“During Phase 4, we will be consulting with stakeholders and residents on the environmental reports, as well as sharing further information on the proposed onshore development area, mitigation and traffic plans.

“Community views play an important part in shaping our proposals and we encourage as many people as possible to take part in the consultation, to engage with us and provide feedback.”

The Phase 4 consultation is based on a draft Environmental Statement, which sets out the proposed infrastructure and its potential environmental impacts. It will provide further information on the proposals, including the Preliminary Environmental Information Report (PEIR) and the key findings of the Environmental Impact Assessment, to include detailed information on traffic, flooding and landscaping.

The site selection chapter sets out the reasons for ScottishPower Renewables’ choice of substation site, taking into account the environmental, social and economic effects and including, where relevant, technical and commercial feasibility.

East Anglia TWO and East Anglia ONE North, with a capacity of 900MW and 800MW respectively, follow-on from the 714 MW East Anglia ONE project that is currently in construction and the 1,200MW East Anglia THREE scheme, which received planning consent in 2017.

East Anglia TWO and East Anglia ONE North could provide enough clean energy to power the equivalent of 1.5 million homes. The company intends to submit a planning application for East Anglia TWO this year with an aim to start construction by 2025, while an application for East Anglia ONE North should be made early next year with construction starting in 2026.

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