Norfolk resident challenges Norfolk Vanguard's development consent

In: Windfarms
The High Court has granted permission for a challenge to the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s decision to grant development consent for the Norfolk Vanguard wind farm off the coast of East Anglia.

If the challenge is successful, then
Norfolk Vanguard's development consent order could be revoked and the Secretary of State will have to re-consider his decision. A Judicial Review is due to be heard in the New Year.

The Claimant, Ray Pearce from Reepham in Norfolk, claims that the Secretary of State unlawfully excluded cumulative effects of the wind farm taken together with its sister project,
Norfolk Boreas in its decision. Both projects will share onshore infrastructure, but are subject to separate applications for development consent.

Vattenfall's projects will transmit electricity ashore via an export cable which makes landfall in Happisburgh, Norfolk. From there, a 60km onshore cable will take it to a new onshore substation in Necton for integration into the onshore grid.

Ray Pearce commented:  “I strongly support the use of renewable wind power electricity which is a wonderful progression for the people of the UK. I do not agree with the exploitation of this valuable resource, by private companies, intent on building transmission systems that will be severely damaging to the environment they were supposed to save and will cause chaos for Norfolk’s people.”

Swedish energy company Vattenfall secured consent for its
Norfolk Vanguard project back in July this year. It is hoping to secure consent for sister project Norfolk Boreas in the next month. The two arrays will have a combined capacity of 3.6 GW and could be operational from the mid-2020s. The projects' combined capacity is expected to meet the equivalent of today's annual electricity demand of 2.6 million UK households.

Onshore construction of Vattenfall’s Norfolk projects is due to start in 2022-23, with the prospect of many local jobs supported for local construction companies and relevant contractors. Offshore works are due to start in the mid to late 2020s.

A Vattenfall spokesperson commented: “We have worked closely with local communities right through the development of Norfolk Vanguard to understand the key issues and put forward the best possible design for the project. Our plans, including mitigations we introduced during our conversations with stakeholders, were robustly scrutinised during the examination process, and subsequently assessed and approved by the Secretary of State for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy. Keeping this project on track is crucial in meeting the net zero decarbonisation target whilst supporting post COVID-19 Green Recovery and economic growth in the UK, in particular a major economic boost to East Anglia."

The news follows Prime Minister Boris Johnson's announcement last week that offshore wind will spearhead his "Build Back Greener" plans making the UK the world leader in clean wind energy. These include confirming that offshore wind will produce more than enough electricity to power every home in the country by 2030, boosting the government’s previous 30 GW target to 40 GW. He also creating a new target for floating offshore wind to deliver 1 GW of energy by 2030, which is over 15 times the current volumes worldwide. The Prime Minister has also set a target to support up to double the capacity of renewable energy in the next Contracts for Difference auction, which will open in late 2021.

This followed the an announcement form National Grid ESO (NG ESO) that it had shared the latest report and opened a consultation for its Offshore Coordination project. This consultation examines whether a more integrated approach to the connection of offshore renewable power and interconnectors would be more beneficial – for consumers, coastal communities and the environment - than the current approach. NG ESO outlined that analysis suggests that an integrated approach offshore could save consumers approximately £6 billion, or 18 per cent, in capital and operating expenditure between now and 2050.

For more information on offshore wind farms worldwide, click here.

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