UK Minister of State for Business, Energy and Clean Growth Anne-Marie Trevelyan has confirmed that a decision on whether to allow Norfolk Boreas Limited’s (Vattenfall’s) 1.8-GW Norfolk Boreas offshore windfarm to go ahead has been delayed again
In a 13 May 2021 statement regarding the application for development consent for Norfolk Boreas, the Minister said, “The Secretary of State has decided to set a new deadline of no later than 10 December 2021 for deciding this application.”
She said the new deadline would allow an opportunity for further information in respect of cumulative impacts of the onshore substation and of offshore environmental effects to be provided and considered.
Under section 107(1) of the Planning Act 2008, the Secretary of State must make a decision on an application within three months of the receipt of the Examining Authority’s report unless exercising the power under section 107(3) of the Act to set a new deadline. Where a new deadline is set, the Secretary of State must make a Statement to Parliament to announce it. The original deadline for the decision on Norfolk Boreas was 12 April 2021.
Vattenfall submitted an application for development consent to the Planning Inspectorate in June 2019. The inspectorate formally accepted the application, and what would normally have been a six-month examination process began in Q3 2019.
Scheduled for Q2 2020, the last hearings were postponed as Covid-19 led to widespread public health restrictions. The examination period for Norfolk Boreas eventually closed five months later than expected, on 12 October 2020. The examining authority then set about reviewing all the evidence.
In February 2021, Vattenfall received another blow to its plans when a development consent order granted for the 1.8-GW Norfolk Vanguard offshore windfarm was overturned in the UK High Court. The development consent order was granted by the then UK Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Alok Sharma in July 2020.
However, following an Order of the High Court made on 18 February 2021, the decision of the Secretary of State to grant the application by Norfolk Vanguard Limited for development consent for the windfarm was quashed. The decision by the High Court means that the Secretary of State must now re-determine the application.
The Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has requested information from Norfolk Boreas Limited, National Grid plc, Network Rail Infrastructure Limited, the Environment Agency and all interested parties about Norfolk Boreas. The deadline for responses is 28 May 2021.
Following the High Court’s decision to quash the Norfolk Vanguard order, a letter inviting comments from all interested parties to both projects has been published. The deadline for comments on that is 20 May 2021.
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