Norfolk offshore windfarm delayed

Materials World magazine
10 Dec 2019

Concerns about cable mitigation and noise are among the reasons for delays at Norfolk's proposed 1,800MW offshore windfarm. 

Approval for a new offshore windfarm in the UK has been delayed, following a request for more information by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Energy (BEIS).

Norfolk Vanguard Limited has proposed building an offshore windfarm with a capacity of 1,800MW to be located about 47km off the coast of Norfolk, England. It would be adjacent to a proposed sister project, Norfolk Boreas, which would have the same capacity.

This latest windfarm would have between 90-180 wind turbines, a turbine capacity of 10-20MW, and could power up to 1.3 million houses. About 60km of cables would run from the seaside location of Happisburgh to a substation at Necton, passing through rural Norfolk.

A decision to proceed or deny the project had been set for 10 December 2019, but a letter from BEIS on 6 December called for more detailed information before a final confirmation could be reached.

Among the issues raised was a lack of clarity over certain elements such as whether mitigation solutions for cables within the Haisborough, Hammond and Winterton Special Area of Conservation (SAC) had been set. Previously, the Norfolk Vanguard said that up to 5% of cables within this zone would need protection, but governmental environment advising body Natural England said this was not appropriate. The company suggested that a solution had been agreed between the parties, but BEIS said it did not find specific reference in the documentation to confirm if this had been arranged.

More information was also requested regarding potential noise levels emitted through vibro piling and blue hammer construction techniques, and in particular, that plans would be put in place to manage the impacts of such practices on mammals and wildlife near the site.   

To date, BEIS has sought further information from Norfolk Vanguard Limited, Natural England and the Marine Management Organisation.

Responses are due back on 28 February 2020, when it is hoped that a final decision can be made.

More information about the project can be found here:

Image: Greater Gabbart offshore windfarm in Suffolk, UK. Credit: SSE.