Wind farm plans could tear through greenbelt land as residents object

A number of businesses and residents are raising concerns over plans to build an offshore wind farm near the Fylde Coast.

The proposed plans are dubbed the Morgan and Morecambe Offshore Wind Farm, two projects which are set to be developed in the Irish Sea, which will transport electricity from the offshore windfarms to the National Grid substation at Penwortham. However, residents of the Fylde Coast, who will be greatly affected by these plans, are saying the disruption, destruction to greenbelt land and cost to businesses and mental health is not acceptable.

Jonny Wilde lives in a village on the Fylde Coast, Newton, which is a focus point with a lot of the wind farm plans.


He said: "They're talking about two substations being built there, on greenbelt land. The government National Planning Policy Framework is supposed to be there to protect greenbelt land at all costs, especially when brown belt land is available.

"Basically, with the substations there will be permanent structures and then there will be temporary areas. Over the six year period, the substations are going to be permanent and that's going to destroy about 90 acres of land space.

"If you imagine the entire Lytham Hall park land, the entire size of that is going to be destroyed in greenbelt land at Newton, which is phenomenal."

The Morgan side of the project is to be developed under a joint venture between bp and EnBW Energie Baden-Wurttemberg AG. The Morecambe side is under a joint venture between Cobra and Flotation Energy. According to BP, both projects have the combined potential to generate around 2GW, possibly contributing to the government's ambition of 50GW offshore wind power by 2030.

Although not opposed to the idea of green and alternative energy, Jonny says the plans should be re-considered. He emphasises frustration is over the onshore plans, affecting local lives and businesses as opposed to wind farms for energy.

To put across frustrations, Jonny set up the Facebook group, 'Against the Wind Farm Onshore Cable and Substation Plans across the Fylde' which currently has over 1,300 members.

As part of this group, Jonny has created a petition to ban the wind farm development on greenbelt land which has amassed over 3,000 signatures. Jonny said: "I'm not just doing this because I live in Newton, I'm doing this because this massively affects everybody in the Fylde."

He added: "House prices are obviously going to be massively affected, as is mental health. The substations will be only metres from Carr Hill School and will emit audible buzzing.

"So schoolkids are going to be sat there listening to buzzing, all day every day. There's a nursery across the road from them too and Strike Lane school in Freckleton.

"Obviously people are living within earshot of it too, so there's massive mental health implications there that need to be taken in to account."

Jonny states the Fylde MP Mark Menzies, who has recently quit the Conservative Party and says he will not stand in the next general election, was supportive of the plans to stop the offshore wind farm from being built with its current plans. Asking residents to provide their feedback through survey, the MP wrote: "Many residents have been in touch regarding Morecambe and Morgan's proposals to build a cable corridor that is wider than the M55 motorway and two enormous substations, one of which is the size of THIRTEEN football pitches and over 23 metres in height.

"I and other residents of Fylde are clear that we have no issue with offshore wind farms on the Fylde Coast to achieve clean, green energy, but the plans brought forward by the developers have raised many concerns for my constituents, such as:

  • The loss of greenbelt in Kirkham, Clifton, Newton, and Freckleton

  • Potential disruption on our roads and railway during the construction of the cable route

  • Impact on our rural communities and businesses with the loss of 'Grade A' agricultural land

  • Noise pollution generated from the constant buzzing from the substations

  • Proximity to local homes, schools, and businesses

  • Threat of compulsory purchase orders on homes and businesses

  • Increased risk of flooding by building on the greenbelt

  • Disruption to local wildlife and habitats."

LancsLive contacted Fylde Council, who stated their position on the plans haven't changed since November 2023, when objections were raised with the proposals and presented at that time. The council have not yet been made aware of any changes or further consultation on the scheme.

A Lancashire County Council spokesman said: "A consultation relating to a forthcoming application by a private company to develop a new offshore windfarm across the Fylde Coast was carried out towards the end of 2023.

"During the consultation, we raised concerns about the impacts on ecology, particularly near the internationally protected areas of the Ribble estuary and the impact on the local highway network and other concerns.

“Our planning and transport officers highlighted that the proposal has the potential to cause significant disruption to residents during construction and any roadworks are likely to have significant knock-on effects to the wider network resulting in congestion. They also advised that information in the Lancashire Environmental Records Network should be taken into account, such as irreplaceable habitats, habitats of principal importance and protected and priority species that may be affected.

"As the proposal is classed as a 'nationally significant infrastructure project,' the application will be submitted to the Planning Inspectorate, who will review the application and make recommendations to the Secretary of State, who has the powers to grant or refuse development consent.

“However, the Planning Inspectorate's review process does include a process of public examination."

A spokesperson from Morgan and Morecambe said: "The Morgan Offshore Wind Project and the Morecambe Offshore Windfarm are two proposed offshore wind farms being developed in the Irish Sea. The two offshore wind farms intend to make an important contribution to the UK's target of generating 50GW of power from offshore wind by 2030.

"Combined they have the potential to generate almost 2GW of electricity - enough to power the equivalent of around two million homes. Since 2022, our project teams have held three rounds of consultation (both non-statutory and statutory) and we recognise that public consultation is a vital process, which gives the local community an opportunity to review our proposals, ask us questions and provide their feedback.

"All feedback we have received has been considered to date and helped inform our design process. We understand there are local concerns, and these will be addressed in due course. We intend to provide a further update on our plans over the coming months, before we submit our application, later in the year."