Last month, a statement from BEIS’ Lord Duncan of Springbank confirmed that consents for three offshore wind farms could not be granted until Natural England, the Environment Agency and the Marine Management Organisation were satisfied with the developers’ revised mitigation plans.
Planning Act 2008
06 Apr 2016
The trio of wind farms off the Norfolk and Kent coasts are being developed by Vattenfall and Ørsted. If given the go-ahead, the three would add an additional 4,500 megawatts of capacity to the national grid.
But Natural England has concerns that, under current plans, Ørsted’s 2,400MW Hornsea Project Three Offshore Wind Farm will have an unacceptable impact on EU-protected sites and species.
The regulator said that the combined impacts of the 696km2 wind farm will create a high collision risk rate in the Flamborough and Filey Coast special protection area (SPA) home to the protected kittiwake. Damages to sandbanks and subtidal sands in the North Norfolk Sandbanks and Saturn Reef special area of conservation (SAC) and the Cromer Shoal Chalk Beds marine conservation zone (MCZ) and Markham's Triangle MCZ would also be too great, Natural England said.
Vattenfall is behind the two other wind farm projects – the 340MW Thanet Extension Offshore Wind Farm and the 1800MW Norfolk Vanguard wind farm. But Vattenfall’s saltmarsh mitigation plan for Thanet is not up to scratch, said Natural England. An agreed timetable of mitigation works to be carried out prior to any pre-commencement works is essential, the regulator added.
According to Natural England’s last statement on the Norfolk Vanguard project, an unacceptable risk to nine bird species including the red-throated diver, kittiwake, guillemot, razorbill and puffins across four SPAs prevented it from backing the project.
Extensions have been granted for all three offshore wind farms until June to allow interested parties to have their say on revised remediation measures under the Planning Act 2008.
To view the ministerial written statement in full click here.