The views expressed in this page do not represent those of the Planning Inspectorate. This page consists of content submitted to the Planning Inspectorate by the public and other interested parties, giving their views of this proposal.
East Anglia ONE North Offshore Windfarm
Received 08 January 2020
From Louise Fincham
“We have lived at Clouting's Farm for 26 years. For the past 18 months our lives have been blighted by SPR's plans to transform the rolling fields between our house and the ancient village of Friston into an industrialised wasteland. The plans are preposterous as anyone who takes the trouble to look at the site agrees. We fully support and understand the need to develop clean energy and our objection is not to the offshore windfarms themselves, rather to the way that vast swathes of precious and protected countryside will be sacrificed in order to connect the energy produced to the National Grid network. Our fragmented utility industry means that individual utility companies are being encouraged to use different routes to connect to the grid. SPR have already dug a 30km long, 50m wide trench through the Suffolk countryside to connect offshore power to the grid at Bramford. Through mismanagement a decision was taken to downgrade this trench so that it apparently cannot not be used to transport the power generated by EA1N and EA2. When I asked a SPR representative why the trench, which has only recently been completed, could not be reopened to allow for extra cabling I was told that a tomato farm now stood on the land. It is unbelievable to think that SPR are about to concrete over 83 acres of land because they don't want to disturb a recently created tomato farm. I imagine the issue is more complicated but the response from the SPR representative is typical of the flippant way that SPR have treated residents in the Friston area. This is an ancient and historic piece of land. In his autobiography, Masters of None, published in 2009, Major Douglas Goddard, MBE described life on "the farm", Major Goddard had spent his childhood working at Clouting's Farm and every Sunday he walked from the farm to the Methodist Church in Knodishall. He walked along the ancient footpath (P6) that forms the boundary between Knodishall and Friston. SPR's plans destroy this footpath, it is to be permanently re-routed to run alongside the substation developments and then beside Grove road. This is in contrast to the current route that runs pleasantly straight from Clouting's Farm to Friston village. It is an ancient footpath used by dog walkers, ramblers and groups of youngsters doing Duke of Edinburgh hikes and such like. All of this will be lost. We support the objections being submitted by SASES and other groups. The plans have no support from local councils or our MP. The landfall at Thorpness will destroy an already fragile cliff. This part of the Suffolk coast is AONB land and these plans will split the AONB in half. The Friston site is ringed by Grade II and Grade II* listed buildings. The plans that SPR have submitted to the planning inspector have airbrushed out the village of Friston. The mitigation proposed is disingenuous, sapling trees cannot hide a 18m high structure. National Grid seem to be a shadowy entity unaccountable to no one and they seem to be unaware of the destructive impact SPR's plans will have on this area. Unlike the job creation in Lowestoft for the making of the wind turbines the substations will provide no long term jobs for our community, instead jobs will be lost as tourists are put off by the clogged roads, noise and light pollution and the creation of an industrial site the size of Wembley Stadium. SPR have not listened to our objections, the substations are poorly designed. In Rampion, W Sussex a substation was built to a "low impact" design meaning that nothing was more than 8m high. SPR pretended to make a concession by reducing the height of harmonic filters from 21m to 18m but this was achieved by removing a noise reducing cladding so instead of extra height we are offered extra noise. SPR have also denied that the substations produce any humming noise but the exact same design up and running in Bramford most certainly does produce a humming noise that can and has been recorded by anyone who cares to visit. The planning inspectorate must look at the cumulative affect of the many infrastructure projects being proposed for this part of East Suffolk. The plans for Sizewell C & D, National Grid interconnectors, Nautolist and Greater Gabbard are all concentrated in this small area of supposedly protected land. There must be more other solutions. The Bawdsey to Bramford cable route could surely be upgraded to take the new cables or landfall could be made further down the coast, perhaps connecting at Bradwell where the impact on people and property would be much reduced. Building an offshore ring main would solve the problem for both Suffolk and Norfolk. We cannot go on ruining our countryside by making bad and short term planning decisions. Local people feel insulted and ignored, we are not objecting to the generation of clean energy, we are objecting to an opaque decision made by National Grid to tell SPR to pick a piece of ANOB coastline to make landfall for their cables and then SPR's decision to cut inland 12km to connect to pylons on the edge of a medieval village in the middle of precious countryside. The RAG assessments carried out by SPR have been shown to be skewed to generate the desired result. No "red" designation was given to the fact that the site is surrounded by Grade II/II* listed buildings. The landscape will be permanently scared and our lives ruined. Please, please come and take a look at the site and I promise that if you do you will agree that there must be a better solution. As an SPR representative at the last public meeting held in Friston was overheard saying "I'm glad I don't live in Friston, this village will be destroyed by this", I couldn't put it better myself.”