Norfolk Vanguard

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.

Norfolk Vanguard

Received 22 August 2018
From Norfolk Coast Partnership


I am responding to the Vanguard consultation of August-September 2018 on behalf of the Norfolk Coast Partnership, guardians of the Norfolk Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

I have had contact with the Vanguard project to date via:
• Attendance at a drop-in session in March/April 2017
• Participation in the landscape expert topic group
• Attendance at meetings where Vattenfall have given presentations
• Posted consultation letter and memory stick

My comments relate only to the potential effects of the development on the landscape quality of the Norfolk Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and on the views from the AONB. I have not commented on the environmental or visual impacts of the turbines as we believe they will not be visible from the AONB. I have not commented on the local viewpoints closer to the proposed landfall site and/or the impact on the landscape outside of the AONB boundary. I have not assessed or commented on any impacts on the marine environment or on the wildlife of the area though, particularly bearing in mind the bat roosts in Paston Barn and their wider feeding corridors, I suggest that Natural England is consulted.

The current 2014-19 Norfolk Coast AONB Management Plan has a Policy (PC5) to ‘Support the development of renewable energy in the area in ways and locations that contribute to the area’s local economy and jobs and maintain its natural beauty.' However, the National Planning Policy Framework emphasises that the impact of a proposed development is an important consideration, including the cumulative landscape and visual impacts. It states that ‘Great weight should be given to conserving landscape and scenic beauty in National Parks, the Broads and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, which have the highest status of protection in relation to landscape and scenic beauty’.

As renewable energy schemes, and particularly large wind power schemes, can have a highly significant impact on the natural beauty of the landscape, we approach each project on an individual basis.

The Norfolk Coast Partnership thanks Vattenfall for early identification of the Norfolk Coast AONB and for the decision to come ashore outside of the area boundaries. Landfall is to the south of the AONB boundary at Bacton and none of the infrastructure runs through the AONB.

We note that works require Rights of Way to be blocked, particularly the England Coast Path. We suggest that this should be undertaken in a way to ensure continuity for walkers, for the minimum time and with appropriate diversions clearly signposted.

We thank Vattenfall for selection of HVDC technology, which will minimise the impact on the Norfolk Coast AONB.

We anticipate that some of the construction and final infrastructure may be visible from the Paston area of the AONB and suggest that impact should be minimised, e.g. through good control of any site light pollution.

We suggest that construction traffic should not use routes within the AONB to access the site.

We suggest that the cable should be brought ashore in a way which does not alter/impede the coastal processes, e.g. of sand movement. Thus, we suggest use of remote drilling from out at sea coming up behind the cliffs rather than any disturbance to the beach, either during construction or project life.

We suggest that the wider community and landscape should benefit from the project. We applaud Vattenfall stated commitment to use of local products, suppliers and contractors and hope that this is maintained through-out the project.

We are interested in forming good, collaborative relationships with the businesses in our area and would welcome working with Vattenfall to deliver benefits to local communities and the local environment, e.g:
• Vattenfall sponsorship of specific Norfolk Coast projects in the AONB
• A Vattenfall/AONB grant scheme

In addition, we recognise a very important gap relating to local children and young people, who do not receive information about the environmental importance of their local area or the opportunities available to them for a career in the environment sector. Some ideas for filling that gap include:
• An education programme for local schools, teaching children about their local environment and also about the value of Norfolk’s protected landscapes. This could be combined with other topics, such as renewable energy.
• An apprenticeship scheme, allowing local young people to gain experience in the environment sector. This could be combined with other topics, such as renewable energy.
• An undergraduate/graduate scheme helping students to learn about the Norfolk environment and go on to gain their first jobs in the area/sector.