Power project compensation package needs to deal with potential harm to villages

PUBLISHED: 10:04 26 December 2019

Permission is being sought for two windfarm projects off the Suffolk coast Picture: ROB HOWARTH

Permission is being sought for two windfarm projects off the Suffolk coast Picture: ROB HOWARTH

Council chiefs say they will contuinue to object to the plans from ScottishPower Renewables (SPR) until appropriate mitigation and compensation packages to offset the potential harm to the landscape, environment and tourism are agreed.

East Suffolk Council leader Steve Gallant Picture: PAUL NIXON/SUFFOLK COASTALEast Suffolk Council leader Steve Gallant Picture: PAUL NIXON/SUFFOLK COASTAL

East Suffolk Council leader Steve Gallant said while the authority is strongly in favour of renewable energy, he is "disappointed" with the submitted applications in their current form, which lead him to believe that the benefits will be considerably outweighed by the potential impacts of the proposals.

SPR has submitted two separate applications for offshore windfarm developments with onshore infrastructure from Thorpeness to a substation site immediately north of Friston.

The council's cabinet will discuss the plans on January 7 with a recommendation to seek more talks with SPR.

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Mr Gallant said: "The council recognises the national benefit these projects will bring, but only provided this is achieved without significant damage to the local built and natural environment, local communities, and tourist economy. The local impacts of the projects and their cumulative impacts need to be adequately and better addressed.

"While there will be positive benefits here and for the wider region, the negative impacts of the developments would be felt almost exclusively by local communities. The approach to these schemes is primarily commercially driven and until sensible and appropriate mitigation and compensation packages are proposed, we will continue to object to the proposals in their current form."

Mr Gallant added that the council will continue to make the necessary approaches to Government ministers as well as working closely with Suffolk and Norfolk councils who are experiencing similar pressures.

SPR said its submissions were made following extensive consultation with a range of stakeholders, including local authorities, councils and local communities to shape and inform its proposals. A spokesman said: "We have taken all care to ensure that any impact on local communities is minimised."

Mr Gallant also compared the issues with the SPR development to the proposals for Sizewell C Nuclear Power Station, which East Suffolk Council is also seeking to resolve. He said: "With Sizewell, again, the outcome of the Stage 4 consultation failed to answer questions which we have posed and we do need them answered in the DCO submission. However, we have not objected to the proposals so far because we can see the potential for benefits regarding highway improvements, skills improvements, education benefits and jobs for the local area."

Among the recommendations cabinet will consider are: "That this council continues to engage with SPR to identify means by which the impact of the proposals can be mitigated and/or compensated if the developments do take place and seek appropriate s106 agreements to secure the necessary mitigation and/or compensation."

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