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People voice worries over impact of massive offshore wind farm

PUBLISHED: 23:16 24 April 2019 | UPDATED: 23:36 24 April 2019

Residents expressed doubts over the Vattenfall Norfolk Vanguard project at a hearing in Dereham. Pictured is the Sheringham Shoal Offshore Wind Farm. Picture: www.chpv.co.uk

Residents expressed doubts over the Vattenfall Norfolk Vanguard project at a hearing in Dereham. Pictured is the Sheringham Shoal Offshore Wind Farm. Picture: www.chpv.co.uk

CHPV Offshore Energy Media Services, Orbis Energy, Wilde Street, Lowestoft,NR32 1XH 0044 1502 0500272

Residents voiced their concerns at a project which would see one of the world's largest wind farms built off the north Norfolk coast at a public hearing on Wednesday evening.

The hearing over Vattenfall's Norfolk Vanguard project took place at Dereham Sixth Form College. Picture: Daniel BennettThe hearing over Vattenfall's Norfolk Vanguard project took place at Dereham Sixth Form College. Picture: Daniel Bennett

The open floor hearing into Vattenfall's application to build the Norfolk Vanguard wind farm off the coast of Happisburgh took place at Dereham Sixth Form College.

The proposals include the need for cables to run through the Norfolk countryside to join a National Grid substation “the size of Wembley Stadium” at Necton, which has sparked opposition from local communities.

Speaking at the meeting, Lucy Sheringham, who farms in Necton, said: “We experienced in 2016, along with 45 other farmers, the impact of this extensive cabling for another project.

“Cables were laid across six of our fields. Three years on and this land has still not been fully reinstated.”

Several residents of Cawston, between Norwich and Cromer, were also in attendance and raised concerns about the potential increase in traffic, particularly HGVs, as a result of the work and the noise this would create.

Resident Kate Pitcher said: “To think huge numbers of additional HGVs could be allowed to pass through the village multiple times a day is appalling.

“There will be peaceful and determined protests on the street.”

Campaigners argue that an Offshore Ring Main (ORM) could instead be used as a method of getting the energy onshore, which would involve each wind farm joining the same connection via a marine cable which connects to just two large onshore substations at either end.

Oulton Parish Councillor Alison Shaw said: “These developers are constrained by the current regime to dig up Norfolk whether they want to or not, in order to connect to the National Grid. The residents are absolutely desperate for an ORM.”

In response, John Horton, senior legal counsel at Vattenfall, said: “We must work within the current constraints of the regulatory framework so we can deliver these projects.

“In terms of noise, air quality and traffic in Cawston, detailed analysis has been done.”

After the meeting, project manager Ruari Lean also added: “We as a project team are very grateful for people's input.

“We have worked consistently along the onshore cable route to ensure there were as many opportunities for members of the public and stakeholders to engage.”

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