One of the largest UK offshore wind farm developments just got the go-ahead from the government. The Norfolk Vanguard field, being developed by Swedish company Vattenfall, is 50 km east of Happisburgh where the power lines will first make landfall.
The cable trench, which can be 100 metres or more wide during development, tracks across North Norfolk to a substation at Necton between Dereham and Swaffham.
Near to us, the trench will pass through Colby just north of Banningham, then skirting around the west side of Aylsham. Any disruption is likely to affect Colby and Banningham residents significantly more than us in Tuttington but our choice of travel routes might have to change.
During the project consultation phase in late 2018, our parish council (the Burgh and Tuttington Parish Council) made representations to Vattenfall. Councillors expressed their support for offshore wind farms in general but had concerns about the effects of cable-laying in the local area.
In addition to travel disruption around Colby and Banningham, there are potential environmental effects to Kings Beck and its associated drainage channels and water meadows across which the cable run is routed. The extensive works could have an impact on local wildlife, water availability to local farmers, and effects on river flow and flooding.
The Parish Council have made contact with a representative of Vattenfall and asked that they communicate the occurrence of potential problems for the community as they arise during the work.
As the pace of offshore wind farm development rises, so will the impact of digging up old cable trenches on many Norfolk communities. This will no doubt increase the pressure on the wind farm companies to get together and consider an alternative to onshore power cable tracks, such as the development of an offshore power grid.