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Substation site chosen to avoid coastal beauty spots, says power firm

PUBLISHED: 07:26 07 July 2018

New windfarm proposals and other energy projects have generated concerns for east Suffolk residents Picture: CHRIS JAMES

New windfarm proposals and other energy projects have generated concerns for east Suffolk residents Picture: CHRIS JAMES

Chris James

Power company bosses have explained why a 30-acre site on the edge of a Suffolk village has been chosen for a huge electricity substation – saying they were keen to avoid an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey has branded the site near Friston as “unacceptable” and is to meet Energy Minister Claire Perry to present residents’ opposition.

The development is needed for ScottishPower Renewables’ grid connection for its proposed East Anglia TWO and East Anglia ONE North offshore windfarms, which could power 1.3million homes.

The company’s development director David Walker said: “We are keen to ensure local communities are fully engaged in the development of our proposals and are in the process of hosting consultation events. At the public information days we are presenting the indicative onshore development area and consulting on mitigation options.

“These events are the culmination of extensive discussions with county, town and parish councils, expert topic groups and local MPs. We encourage as many people as possible to attend the events to engage with us, our technical experts, ask questions and share their views, particularly on mitigation at the substation and along the cable route. Community views play a key role in shaping our plans.”

He said following feedback from earlier consultation, the height of the substation buildings had been reduced by six metres.

Mr Walker said: “In March, we presented seven site options for the substations at public information days and sought views on these locations. The events were well attended and we took careful note of all the comments from the community.

“We have undertaken extensive analysis of the seven sites and held detailed discussions with the Local Planning Authority.

“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.”

Further information days for the project will take place on:

July 7: Thorpeness County Club, 10am-1pm

July 26: Aldeburgh Church Hall, 4pm-7pm

July 27: Sizewell Sports and Social Hall, Leiston, 10am-1pm

July 27: Southwold Rugby Club, 3pm-6pm

July 28: Friston village hall, 10am-1pm

July 28: Thorpeness County Club, 3pm-6pm

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