Fishermen to get bigger say on windfarms

Fishermen off north Norfolk are welcoming assurances they will get a louder voice over where the next batch of offshore windfarms will sited.The Crown Estate, which allocates windfarm licences, has told a national fishermen's lobby there would be better liaison to ensure sensitive fishing areas were avoided.

Fishermen off north Norfolk are welcoming assurances they will get a louder voice over where the next batch of offshore windfarms will sited.

The Crown Estate, which allocates windfarm licences, has told a national fishermen's lobby there would be better liaison to ensure sensitive fishing areas were avoided.

Off Norfolk, where the seas are set to take up to another 1,000 turbines in the national push for green offshore energy, the news was given a guarded welcome.

Ivan Large, chairman of two fishermen's societies representing 50 boats in north Norfolk, said: “It will be good - if they do what they say.”

Fishermen had been frustrated in the past at getting their concerns across to windfarm developers as they consulted over their environmental impact studies at the detailed stage - so would welcome the chance to get their point across during earlier strategic discussions over potential sites.

“We are getting our message across - eventually. We don't want windfarms in important fishing grounds, or big exclusion zones we have to steam around. It would be another nail in our coffin,” said Mr Large.

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They were issues raised over windfarms currently in the pipeline, such as the scores planned at the Sheringham and Dudgeon Shoals.

But the National Federation of Fishermen's Organisations (NFFO) has been told by the Crown Estate there would be better and earlier liaison over the third round sites, which include a large area off the North Norfolk coast as the Government turns up the wick to meet renewable energy targets.

NFFO chief executive Barrie Deas said there was already a liaison group, but compared to a similar one on offshore oil and gas it had “failed to live up to expectations” he told Fishing News.

Mr Large said fishermen worked different areas of the seas at different times of the year, so the loss of any more grounds to windfarms was a potential blow.

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