Representatives of several communities in the North Norfolk region that will be most affected by the onshore construction works associated with the proposed wind farm developments, have pointed out the damage that will be caused if the proposals are adopted.
Spokesperson Chris Monk of Cawston Parish Council said there are solutions that would significantly reduce the risks to health and disruption to the county’s communities, businesses and the countryside.
“These could readily be adopted by the government and wind farm developers if they take a long-term strategic approach rather than a short-term profit-driven one,” he said.
“Individual communities have their own specific issues, including huge buildings and structures disfiguring the landscape, many years of traffic disruption with severe road safety and public health implications, the loss of jobs as local businesses are forced to close and the impact on tourism.
“The cumulative effects across the region will impact the county of Norfolk as a whole. These projects are designated of national importance; the implications require a national solution rather than the piecemeal approach currently in train – a regional policy and strategy is required.
“We fully support the drive to renewable energy, but argue that the implementation needs to be – and could be – managed so that local communities are not damaged,” said Mr Monk.
Alternatives proposed by the parishes most affected, such as Cawston, Oulton and Necton, include an offshore ring main, which would connect all offshore wind farms to one coastal facility as it joins the National Grid.
This is arguably the best strategic solution, but would require government direction and the co-operation of National Grid and the wind farm developers to accept some rescheduling of work while it is set up.
Other suggestions are to reconsider current onshore cable route plans to avoid site traffic and materials distribution along unsuitable roads, and to review construction methods.
Mr Monk pointed out that much of the heavy lorry traffic will carry materials for a “running track” along the cable route. However, the parishes have found products that offer a pre-formed track, potentially reducing HGV numbers by a significant percentage.
And while the Hornsea Project Three development insists on most deliveries running into and out of a central construction site, the Norfolk Vanguard and Norfolk Boreas projects propose a rolling approach along their route, which means less disruption at key points.
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