Communities join forces to seek urgent review of seven major energy projects planned for Suffolk
- Credit: IAN BURT
Thirty-two communities in east Suffolk have joined forces for the first time to oppose moves to build seven major energy projects in a small part of the county.
The town and parish councils have written to Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Andrea Leadsom asking for the Government to intervene immediately - and to carry out an urgent review of the impact of the current plans.
The group also want an immediate suspension of ScottishPower Renewables' applications for the East Anglia ONE North and East Anglia TWO windfarms.
In the letter on behalf of the councils, Tim Beach, chairman of Snape Parish Council, says each project is too big for the areas being considered.
Mr Beach said: "The cumulative impact of having six of these sequential industrial energy developments running in parallel with a proposed Sizewell C development will devastate the local environment, economy and the health and well-being of all those who live in, work in and visit our parishes and towns over a period of many years, impacting negatively on the whole of East Suffolk.
"The significant harm is not outweighed by any potential gain and we would request your robust consideration and urgent intervention. You would also be most welcome to visit."
Mr Beach said the councils fully understand the need for the UK to move away from fossil-fuelled energy to renewables but felt their continuing concerns over this "unprecedented and unnecessary industrialisation" remain largely unaddressed.
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The main concerns are the level of HGV and other construction traffic and impact on communities, and the damage which would be done to national and internationally recognised landscapes and the threat this would cause to the tourist economy.
He added: "In addition, despite assurances given over the years that the cumulative impact of what could be in total up to seven energy projects would be considered - there is no evidence so far of any meaningful attempt to make that cumulative assessment, nor coordinate even the consultation or the potential delivery."
A spokesman for EDF Energy said: "The Sizewell C project is vital in our efforts to tackle the climate crisis and will create significant local benefits and many skilled, well paid jobs and apprenticeships.
"We are working hard to minimise the impact on the area and have conducted nearly 10 months of public consultation involving over 10,000 local residents and stakeholders including parish councils. Their views have helped shape the proposals we will submit for development consent next year."
A spokesman for ScottishPower Renewables said: "Our Development Consent Order (DCO) applications for the East Anglia TWO and East Anglia ONE North offshore windfarms have been accepted for examination by the Planning Inspectorate.
"These submissions were made following extensive consultation with a range of stakeholders, including local authorities, councils and local communities to shape and inform our proposals. We have taken all care to ensure that any impact on local communities is minimised.
"We are generally supportive of the concept of a more strategically planned and operated offshore grid network. However, it will require significant changes to the current grid regulatory framework and planning process before any such offshore grid proposals could be implemented, and this will take time to get right.
"Given the urgent need to provide large quantities of clean, green power in order to power our homes and businesses and decarbonise our economy, it is not feasible to pause current projects while this lengthy process is undertaken."
The energy projects causing concern include:
? EDF Energy's proposals for Sizewell C, a twin reactor nuclear power station, which will generate power for five million homes.
? ScottishPower Renewables' plans for a 30-acre substation planned for land at Friston to serve two windfarms - East Anglia ONE North and East Anglia TWO, which together will provide electricity for 1.5million households.
? National Grid Ventures' proposed Nautilus Interconnector project with Belgium for 1500MW of electricity.
? National Grid Ventures' proposed Eurolink Interconnector project with Holland for 1600MW of power.
? Plans to expand the Greater Gabbard wind farm, which could see more cables brought ashore between Sizewell and Leiston.
? Crown Estate's announced intention to grant rights to expand the Galloper wind farm, with cables to come ashore in east Suffolk.
Communities which have signed up to the letter:
Aldeburgh Town Council,
Aldringham cum Thorpeness Parish Council,
Bredfield Parish Council,
Bungay Town Council,
Campsea Ashe Parish Council,
Chediston & Linstead Parish Council,
Chillesford Parish Council,
Darsham Parish Council,
Dunwich Parish Meeting,
Farnham with Stratford St. Andrew Parish Council,
Friston Parish Council,
Hacheston Parish Council,
Iken Parish Council,
Kelsale cum Carlton Parish Council,
Kirton & Falkenham,
Knodishall Parish Council,
Leiston Town Council,
Levington & Stratton Hall Parish Council,
Marlesford Parish Council,
Martlesham Parish Council,
Melton Parish Council,
Middleton Parish Council,
Rushmere St. Andrew Parish Council,
Shottisham Parish Council
Snape Parish Council,
Sutton Parish Council,
Sweffling Parish Council,
Theberton & Eastbridge Parish Council,
Walberswick Parish Council,
Westerfield Parish Council,
Westleton Parish Council,
Woodbridge Town Council,
Yoxford Parish Council.