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'Serious issues' over offshore windfarm

PUBLISHED: 09:51 23 April 2009 | UPDATED: 10:48 07 July 2010

Norfolk's planning chiefs have said there are "serious issues" over what impact a proposed massive offshore wind farm could have if built off the county's coastline.

Norfolk's planning chiefs have said there are “serious issues” over what impact a proposed massive offshore wind farm could have if built off the county's coastline.

Centrica Energy has put forward plans for between 88 to106 three blade turbines 16 miles off Blakeney Point on the north Norfolk coast.

The firm says the proposal could provide electricity for 420,000 homes annually.

It will be up to the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) to decide if the scheme can go ahead.

But a Norfolk County Council planning chief has said, whilst recognising the potential benefits of the scheme, it could affect the coastline, the ecology in the Wash Estuary and impact on tourism and fishing.

Mike Jackson, director of environment, transport and development, in his report to tomorrow's planning and highways delegations committee, states: “While recognising the significant benefits potentially arising from this proposal, there are serious issues arising about its combined impact along with other permitted and proposed schemes in the area, on the North Norfolk Coast, local ecology in the Wash Estuary and impact on the local tourism and fishing economy.”

The coast is a Heritage Coast and Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

He has recommended the council objects to the proposal to DECC, called the Race Bank offshore wind farm.

This would mean it has to be brought to a public inquiry.

According to the plans it would be 27km from the north Norfolk coast and 28km from the Lincolnshire coast - the entire installation could cover an area of 29sqm.

This would include up to three offshore electrical substations and four cables 38miles long to the southern shore of the Wash to the east of the River Nene. A new land based substation would be built next to an existing one at Walpole.

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