FARMING NEWS

Norfolk landowners frustrated with plans for offshore wind farms

The concerns of Norfolk landowners, and local community leaders, who will be affected by the forthcoming construction of three huge offshore wind farms have been raised in two recent seminars.

Although the wind farms are sited offshore, the onshore underground cable installations, electricity relay stations and substations will affect numerous landowners along two substantial corridors of land.

“It quickly became apparent landowners are being increasingly frustrated by the developers’ inability to make a commitment to either the AC or DC power option,” said Churchgates’ Fraser Paskell, who organised the seminars in conjunction with land agent Jane Kenny from Savills.

Fraser, who is one of the region’s most experienced property lawyers working in the offshore wind and renewable energy sectors – also invited Energypeople Limited, a consultancy specialising in the design of energy solutions, to give a presentation at the seminars.

Smaller land take

He continued: “Bill Slegg of Energypeople made it quite clear that a DC power option would involve a much smaller land ‘take’ for cable installations – less than one third according to one developer -and eliminate the need to construct relay stations and surface features along the cable corridors.”

The proposed cable routes will run from the coastal village of Weybourne in North Norfolk to a substation adjacent to the A140 in South Norfolk, and from Happisburgh on the Norfolk coast to join the National Grid network close to Necton in Breckland.

Mr Paskell added “As well as the selection of the power option, many other concerns were expressed in the discussions following the presentations,”.

“There were many questions for environmental lawyers Lisa Foster and Adrienne Copithorne from Richard Buxton, particularly regarding the DCO process [Development Consent Orders], and Jane Kenny from Savills, and I were pleased to discuss how the Heads of Terms and Option Agreements with the developers could help define practical issues such as access routes, field drainage, soil damage and crop loss.”

Fraser concluded:

“Now, during the DCO pre-application stage, is the time when landowners, farmers and community leaders need to act and make their written representations. It is important that these representations are informed and reflect the legal and practical basis on which the developers can be challenged.”

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