Whilst supporting offshore wind generation, SPS has serious concerns over the impacts of offshore windfarms and their associated onshore infrastructure on the landscape and heritage of Suffolk including the Suffolk Coast and Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Following the completion of the EA1(N) and EA2 windfarm Examinations in July 2021, we wrote to the Examiner urging for a split decision to allow the windfarm development to go ahead while less damaging solutions for the onshore infrastructure than the proposed substations at Friston could be explored.
SPS has campaigned for an offshore ringmain to take power from all the offshore wind farms around the East Anglian coast in a strategic way rather than continuing the adhoc carving up of the countryside. SPS therefore welcomes the government announcement of an Offshore Transmission Review. We hope this indicates an acceptance that integrated connections need to be happening soon and that considering each project in isolation is not working.
National Grid is also proposing interconnectors to facilitate the importing of energy from Belgium and the Netherlands, which are still at an early stage but may be located in the Friston area
East Anglia 1(N) and East Anglia 2
We were very disappointed that these were granted approval by the Secretary of State on 31 March 2022. While acknowledging that the Applicant had widely underestimated the harmful environmental impacts, the Examining Authority (ExA), and confirmed by the Secretary of State, agreed that the proposals gave rise to a medium level of harm to the landscape and historic environment, they gave greater weight in the planning balance to the need for renewable energy. Details of the decisions can be found here
The Secretary of State acknowledges and adopts the substantial weight the ExA gives to the contribution to meeting the need for electricity generation demonstrated by NPS EN-1 and its significant contribution towards satisfying the need for offshore wind [ER 28.4.4]. He further notes that the ExA has identified that the Proposed Development would be consistent with the Climate Change Act 2008 (2050 Target Amendment) Order 2019 which amended the Climate Change Act 2008 to set a legally binding target of 100% below the 1990 baseline.
The onshore infrastructure to support EA1(N) and EA2 will consist of three enormous substations in the countryside beside the village of Friston. In addition, 7 kms of cables will be installed underground causing significant disruption to the countryside including parts of the Suffolk Coast and Heaths AONB.
SPS sat on the Expert Topic Group for heritage. We consistently made strong representations at each stage of the projects prior to the DCO submission and continued to support the local campaign groups which ran such a compelling and powerful campaign.
Our responses throughout the consultation period:
- July 2021 – SPS letter to the Examiner urging for a split decision to allow the offshore element but calling for a rethink of the loaction of onshore substations at Friston
- November 2020 – SPS Written Representation on EA1N and EA2
- 21 January 2020 – SPS registration as an interested party: East Anglia 1(N), East Anglia 2
- 30 May 2019 – impact of offshore infrastructure on the significance of coastal heritage assets
- 20 March 2019 – phase 4 consultation response EA1(N), EA2
- 6 November 2018 – phase 3.5 consultation response – substation location
- 2 July 2018 – phase 3 consultation response – indicative onshore development area
- 27 March 2018 – public consultation exercise
- 15 December 2017 – scoping report EA1(N), EA2