UK Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Andrea Leadsom has requested more information and comments from Norfolk Vanguard Limited, interested parties and other parties on the Norfolk Vanguard offshore windfarm
Planning permission for the offshore windfarm is currently being sought by developer Vattenfall and a decision had been expected this week.
Ms Leadsom will also set a new deadline for a decision on the planning application, which she will announce once parliament is sitting again after the UK General Election on 12 December 2019.
In a letter to developer Vattenfall, the Secretary of State said there are several issues on which she would like more information.
These include ‘in-combination’ impacts on the Special Protection Areas and birds in those areas, and whether there are any feasible alternative solutions to the Norfolk Vanguard project that would avoid or reduce any adverse effects on the integrity of these sites, any imperative reasons of overriding public interest for the Norfolk Vanguard project to proceed, and any in-principle compensatory measures proposed to ensure that the overall coherence of the network of Natura 2000 sites is protected.
She also asked for more information about cable protection measures in certain areas in Special Areas of Conservation, and potential effects during construction on marine mammals. In particular she asked for more information about construction techniques that have been trialled, including vibro-piling and the use of the Blue Hammer construction technique.
The Secretary of State said she is also aware of concerns raised by local residents in respect of potential HGV movements along roads in the area and requested more information about mitigation measures. She highlighted mitigation of potential visual impacts of certain onshore work and concerns about noise impacts at the proposed substation for the project, during operation and maintenance of the infrastructure.