Land work starts on offshore windfarm

After five years of planning, a brief funding crisis and objections from the Ministry of Defence, work on a �1bn north Norfolk wind farm has at last begun.

After five years of planning, a brief funding crisis and objections from the Ministry of Defence, work on a �1bn north Norfolk wind farm has at last begun.

Workers have started onshore preparations for the massive cable which will transport the energy created by the Sheringham Shoal Offshore Wind Farm's 88 turbines, situated 17km off the coast.

At the moment, the contractors can be seen at Weybourne tackling the first stage of the development which involves creating a fenced corridor along which the power cables will be buried.

The lines will eventually run for 22km from the village's clifftop, across north Norfolk to Salle where work will soon begin building a new substation.


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Rune R�nvik, project manager for the 315megawatt wind farm, said developers Scira Offshore Energy would not become neighbours-from-hell for people living near the site.

He said: 'We have a licence to operate for 50 years so will be part of the Norfolk community for a very long time.

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'I am keen to ensure that we are good neighbours from the outset and will work closely with our onshore contractor to ensure that all the communities along the cable route are aware of when work will take place, how long it will last and what measures will be taken to mitigate disruption.'

The project suffered a setback late last year, when StatoilHydro, the company behind the plans, said it was struggling to find a joint investor but in April announced Norwegian power company Statkraft had bought the 50pc stake.

Sheringham Shoal, which would generate energy for 220,000 homes, also overcame objections by the Ministry of Defence. It was feared the spinning blades of the 130m turbines would show up on its radar screens but Scira have agreed to pay for improvements to radars in north Norfolk and Lincolnshire to solve the problem.

Offshore work is expected to begin next year, with the site set to be up and running in late 2011.

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