UK High Court quashes Norfolk Vanguard planning consent

In: Windfarms

The UK High Court has quashed planning consent for what would be one of the largest offshore wind farms to be installed off the coast of the UK. It concerns the proposed 1.8 GW
Norfolk Vanguard project planned to be installed of East Anglia.

Vattenfall secured consent for its
Norfolk Vanguard project off the Norfolk coast in July last year. It is also hoping to secure consent for the nearby Norfolk Boreas sister project mid-April 2021. The two arrays would have a combined capacity of 3.6 GW and could be operational from the mid-2020s. The projects' combined capacity was expected to meet the equivalent annual electricity demand today of 2.6 million UK households.

Vattenfall's projects were planned to 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.

The Claimant, Ray Pearce from Reepham in Norfolk, claimed that the Secretary of State unlawfully excluded cumulative effects of
Norfolk Vanguard and its sister project in its decision. It was announced today that Mr Justice Holgate had ruled favour of the claimant

Responding to the ruling in the Norfolk Vanguard Judicial Review, Danielle Lane, Vattenfall's Head of Market Development Offshore and UK Country Manager said: “This is a very disappointing outcome, but it relates to the process for granting consent and is not about the merits of our world class Norfolk Vanguard project.

“Planning consent was awarded in July 2020 after Vattenfall fulfilled all the requirements placed on developers. It’s vital that the Government now acts to redetermine consent, with regard to the judge's ruling, as quickly as possible. That way we can continue to invest in the region and remain on track to begin generating low cost, renewable electricity by the late 2020s.

“With the expansion in offshore wind that’s required for the UK to reach net zero by 2050, the planning process needs to be able to address and resolve issues much sooner and avoid the uncertainty about whether projects will proceed even after they have planning approval.”

Commenting on today’s High Court ruling on Vattenfall’s 1.8GW Norfolk Vanguard offshore wind farm project, RenewableUK’s Deputy Chief Executive Melanie Onn said: "If the UK is serious about achieving the Prime Minister's target of 40 gigawatts of offshore wind by 2030, we need major projects like Norfolk Vanguard to go ahead as swiftly as possible. Developing new offshore wind projects will bring billions in new investment to the UK and create tens of thousands of high-quality jobs after the pandemic.

"We hope the Government will examine today's judgement carefully and respond in a way that supports meaningful action against the most dangerous threat to our planet - climate change. This is especially important in the year when we are hosting COP26, as new projects are vital to maintain the UK's global lead in offshore wind".

The Secretary of State must now redetermine Vattenfall's application for planning consent for
Norfolk Vanguard.  

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