Equinor publishes consultation report for Norfolk wind farm extensions

In: Windfarms

Equinor is bringing forward proposals for the
Sheringham shoal and Dudgeon Extension offshore wind farms, located off the coast of North Norfolk, and has published the summary report from its first phase of community consultations.

The proposed projects would be built adjacent to the existing wind farms, bringing the total capacity up to 1.44GW, enough renewable energy to power one and a half million UK homes.

As part of the development process, early stage proposals were presented locally and online for feedback from the community and key stakeholders.

The phase one community consultation ran from 9 July until 20 August 2020; due to COVID-19, it included hosting a virtual exhibition to display all the project information and this was supported by advertisements in local newsletters, posters displayed in local information points
, the distribution of a community consultation leaflet to over 11,000 Norfolk households and businesses, virtual engagement with parish as well as district and county councillors across the consultation area.

There were over 1,700 visits to the virtual exhibition, which can still be visited at
event.sepanddep.co.uk, and almost 300 pieces of feedback were received during the consultation period.

“We are very grateful to everyone who took the time to visit our virtual exhibition and provide comments. Engaging early with communities local to our two projects has been valuable for capturing feedback to inform the next phase. All of the feedback has been thoroughly reviewed and is being considered as we refine our proposals. Responses to all feedback received throughout the development process will be provided in our final Consultation Report when we submit our DCO application,”
says Kari-Hege Mørk, Equinor’s Manager for the Sheringham and Dudgeon Extension Projects.

Information was provided on key topics for the project team to consider when developing the proposals. These included the management of the traffic, access, and noise and vibration considerations during the construction of the onshore infrastructure. Ecology and nature conservation, visual impacts both onshore and offshore and consideration of the cumulative effects of other infrastructure developments in Norfolk were also highlighted as areas of particular importance to the local community.

An overview of all the feedback received during the first consultation is presented in the
summary report.

A more detailed report, along with on-going surveys and technical investigations will be shared in the Preliminary Environmental Information Report (PEIR) for phase two of the community consultation.

This second phase of community consultation will be held in Spring 2021 when the company will be presenting its refined plans, inviting comments to its PEIR and providing additional information including visualisations of what the projects will look like onshore and from the coast.

Mørk continued “An overwhelming majority of respondents, 89%, agreed that that the UK needs to generate more energy from renewable sources, including offshore wind generation. Both projects can play an important role in delivering more renewable energy for the UK, contributing to decarbonisation, while creating local jobs and opportunities.”

As both Sheringham Shoal Extension and Dudgeon Extension are classed as Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIPs), Equinor will apply for a Development Consent Order from the Secretary of State for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy.

Equinor is seeking to minimise potential impacts on the community and the environment by adopting a shared onshore footprint for the two projects, and applying for one common Development Consent Order.

Equinor intends to submit the joint Development Consent Order application by the end of 2021.

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