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 20 January 2020
From Friston Parochial Church Council
“EAST ANGLIA 1 NORTH WINDFARM RELEVANT REPRESENTATIONS TO THE NATIONAL PLANNING INSPECTORATE BY FRISTON PAROCHIAL CHURCH COUNCIL THE CHURCH OF ST MARY THE VIRGIN, FRISTON JANUARY 2020 PEACE AND TRANQUILLITY Terms most quoted in our Visitors’ Book and by Residents OVERVIEW Friston Parish Church (The Church of St Mary the Virgin) sits in an elevated position with respect to the village and provides an area of quietude that is much regarded by villagers and visitors alike. The fabric of the church is a Grade ll* listed building and sits in an hitherto unspoilt rural landscape surrounded by other Grade ll buildings. It remains open during daylight hours, and provides an area of peace and tranquillity for all. The boundary of the proposed development is now a mere 3 metres away from the churchyard and burial ground; this will threaten the whole sustainability and purpose of the church. The Church has an ongoing duty of care to the local community, which by many measures is vulnerable and ageing. It is driven by two key marks of mission of the Anglican Community, namely: - To transform unjust structures of society - To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and to sustain and renew the life of the earth. This extends to our stewardship of the land and environment. The Parochial Church Council supports the move towards renewable energy, including offshore windfarms, but is deeply concerned that the onshore element is being pursued to the detriment of those living in Friston and along the proposed cable route. In this matter the Parochial Church Council concurs with the relevant representations made by: - Friston Parish Council supported by the SASES action group - Historic England - Suffolk County Council - East Suffolk Council- - Other local interested parties opposed to the selection of Friston as the site for EA1(N), EA2 and National Grid Substations. The Church, in its pastoral role, finds that the many residents are deeply anxious and dismayed by the likely impact of noise and disruption caused by construction traffic and its effect upon their safety and security. The developer categorises these concerns as ‘minor’, ‘negligible’ or ‘temporary’: with a development lasting between 4 and 8 years ignoring the fact that to an ageing and vulnerable population this is hardly ‘minor, negligible or temporary’! The impact of a 12-hour, 7 day-week construction programme has the potential to seriously detract from the spirituality of church services. The human impact will be felt over the operational life of the substation(s). The current quiet and restful rural landscape, traversed by footpaths, with the fabric of the church as its backdrop, will be replaced by upwards of 30 acres of industrial scale buildings and plant generating a tiresome noise (mains frequency hum), and light pollution for the next 40 years. This loss will be permanent. The effect already is to depress the prospects for house sale to newer and younger residents, thereby impacting the capacity of ageing residents to pay for ongoing health facilities and long-term care. Several residents now find themselves trapped by the uncertainty surrounding the development of EA1(N). Also arising from all this is the economic sustainability of our church. It relies on a regular flow of new residents into the village. They maintain our congregation and become valuable financial supporters. Also, many as volunteers support our outreach to our community and beyond through our annual programme of events and which contribute substantially to our income. In short, the PCC opposes the onshore development of EA1(N) substation and the National Grid substation so close to the Parish Church on account of the serious damage that it will cause to the local environment and the spiritual well-being of the local residents. KEY INITIAL RELEVANT REPRESENTATION ISSUES We have strived to limit our concerns to around 500 words. However, the magnitude and complexity of the proposals are such to wish to ensure that the Examination process is rigorous in assessing all the issues related to our own concerns. Whilst these may be covered in other submissions, we list them below. Cumulative Impacts - Construction of Sizewell C (Two reactors). - Expansion of Greater Gabbard and Galloper offshore windfarms. - National Grid Ventures Interconnectors – Nautilus and Eurolink There are so many inter-linking issues here – location, sequencing, disruption, safety and more. Site Selection - We are concerned at the changes surrounding the switch from the original link from Bawdsey to the long established Bramford site which has capacity to expand and now the requirement for a new additional site on hitherto unspoilt rural landscape. - The role of National Grid and its interest in this and the other projects which have not been subject to proper scrutiny through the NSIP process and lack of consultation and accountability. Flood Risk - Friston is already subject to flooding, not least in areas in close proximity to the church. The issues and their totality have not been addressed. Land Use - Significant loss of valuable agricultural land. Onshore Ecology - Disturbs the balance of biodiversity and spreads to adjoining areas of special protection and special scientific interest. Heritage - Our churchyard is testimony to the history of the village going back to Saxon times and includes the War Memorial and Commonwealth War Grave. - The area is surrounded by other GradeII buildings and others reflecting the historic and rural characteristics. Pollution – all issues of increasing wider public concern: Noise - During construction minimum four years but issues of overruns, sequencing, cumulative projects. - Potential seven day working (already projected at 6 ½ days) - 24 hour on-site working - Impacts on Church services – their dignity and solemnity as appropriate. - Also, the well-maintained churchyard as a haven for reflection and contemplation over the surrounding landscape; the tending of graves; acts of remembrance. - Post construction noise from major infrastructures and further projects. - Tonality in a rural environment. Light - We have concerns for the impacts of necessary lighting for safety and security both during and post construction. Air - Habitually the driest county of the country in the summer months, we shall be prone to the impacts of dust and disruption both on site and along the cable route. Traffic and Transport - The area is characterised by historic routes of lanes and footpaths linking hamlets and villages; the area is unsuitable for heavy construction traffic. - There is no comprehensive traffic management plan addressing accessibility, safety of residents, visitors, walkers and cyclists. There will be lasting damage from road alterations. Human Impact - Lives have already been damaged by anxiety and uncertainty given the proximity of the proposals to the community. - The majority of the resident population is ageing and vulnerable, hence the human impacts will weigh more heavily. - Financial risks associated with potential mobility within the village and attracting new residents and ability to afford care. - Loss of amenity – recreation and walking; loss of footpaths. Historic Landscape - Flawed site selection causes irreversible and severe loss of landscape and visual harm which cannot be effectively mitigated. - Impacts adversely on peace and tranquillity - key elements cited by residents and visitors. - Closes permanently and temporarily public rights of way. - The cable route permanently scars the landscape. Amenity, Tourism and Socio-Economic - Research indicates that total local business turnover supported by tourism activity is in excess of £671million. The main drivers are tranquillity and accessibility – the skies, the seascapes, the landscapes and the dark sky at night all integral to this area. - The area is an ‘escape valve’ for those affected by increasing and creeping urbanisation of the east coast. - Local Plans subject to review by the National Planning Inspectorate envisage 85,000 new homes in areas all within an hour’s drive from this area. More families to be attracted by the qualities and activities available. - This will sustain investment and tourism opportunities for the local economy whereas there are none post construction of the proposals and potentially negative. Safety - Increases in traffic and transport along country lanes without pedestrian refuge threaten the safety of residents, visitors, walkers and cyclists. - Consequently, Friston and its community are most at risk. - Safety and security both during and post construction. Sustainability of the Church - Peace and tranquillity are the reasons most residents and visitors come to Friston. - We rely on a regular flow of new residents into the village. - They maintain our congregation and become valuable financial supporters and volunteers. - Our outreach to our community and beyond is through our annual programme of events which also contribute over 30% to our annual income.”