Offshore wind farm gets go-ahead amid ‘pressing need’ for renewable energy

The Energy Secretary has approved a wind farm development off the Norfolk coast, ruling that the need for renewable energy outweighs concern over the “substantial harm arising from landscape and visual issues”.

A judge last year quashed a decision to grant development consent to Vattenfall’s 1.8-gigawatt Norfolk Vanguard offshore windfarm.

It came after a retired RAF pilot, who lived near a cable route, took legal action against the Government.

Raymond Pearce, who lives near Reepham, had raised concerns about the effects the development would have on the landscape and the view.

But Kwasi Kwarteng, Secretary of State at the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, granted development consent for the windfarm on Friday, having re-determined the application.

A decision letter said: “The Secretary of State has balanced the substantial harm arising from landscape and visual issues against the substantial and pressing need for renewable electricity sources and considers that the latter should prevail.”

The wind farm will have up to 158 turbines.

Industry body RenewableUK has welcomed the decision, with its chief executive, Dan McGrail, saying it “demonstrates to the rest of the world that the UK is committed to taking significant practical action against climate change”.

He said: “Today’s decision secures significant investment in much-needed, new, energy infrastructure at a time when we need to speed up the transition away from expensive fossil fuels to cheap domestic sources of clean energy.

“Building this major project will generate enormous, economic benefits for East Anglia, creating high-quality jobs in our world-class offshore wind industry and the wider supply chain nationwide.”

Vattenfall said that the Norfolk Vanguard, together with the Norfolk Boreas offshore wind farm that was awarded planning consent in December, will produce enough electricity annually to power the equivalent of 3.9 million UK homes.

Danielle Lane, UK country manager for Vattenfall, said:  “Today is a major step forward for a project that will help to unlock the huge potential of offshore wind for the UK.

“We’re committed to making sure that these projects bring real, lasting benefit to the east of England – with jobs, supply chain and skills investment throughout construction and operation.

“We’ll be working even more closely now with local communities as we begin to take the project towards construction.

“This will include preparatory works on the ground, but also work with our local partners to make sure we get our plans absolutely right to maximise benefits to the region.”