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Dong Energy seeks feedback on Hornsea Project Three wind farm cable route

Dong Energy's Walney wind farm, 19km off the Cumbrian coast.

Dong Energy's Walney wind farm, 19km off the Cumbrian coast.

DONG Energy

Landowners, householders and community groups along the proposed onshore cable route for a vast North Sea windfarm have been urged to make their views clear during a consultation starting next week.

Graphic showing the proposed route of the cable for Hornsea Project Three wind farm. Graphic showing the proposed route of the cable for Hornsea Project Three wind farm.

Danish company Dong Energy is planning to build the Hornsea Project Three wind farm 120km off the coast of north Norfolk, and is exploring options for bringing the electricity ashore near Weybourne, and linking it via underground cables to a substation south of Norwich.

Following the launch of the initial consultation in October, the original 5km scoping area has been refined down to a 200m-wide cable corridor which will now be discussed at a series of events, before being further finalised into an 80m corridor.

Landowners on the cable route have already voiced concerns over the potential damage to ecological landscape features such as wildflower margins and hedgerows, and what impact the cable will have on the soil structure and drainage of agricultural land.

Stuart Livesey, Hornsea Project Three project development manager, said he wanted to encourage anyone who may be affected by the onshore work to make their feelings known at the consultation events.

“It is all about feedback,” he said. “We are not doing this because we are trying to tick boxes. We are trying to get information from the people who the situation best.

“It is a very large project and it can be a daunting prospect to people who suddenly see this on a newsletter or in the press. We try to minimise the footprint as much as possible. Where possible we try to put the cable on the side of farmers’ fields and we route around sensitive ecological and archaeological sites. Any local heritage sites we will stay well clear of.

“A lot of the technology we use these days is quite well advanced. With horizontal directional drilling (HDD) once we get the equipment on the cable route we can get it to go under woodland, roads and rivers. We will set up an onshore drilling rig and we can set the drill off at an angle and it will stay 1.2m below the road or hedgerow and it will pop up the other side.

“I can understand why there would be concerns from landowners and rural communities, but that is why we want to hear from them.

“We want to understand the soil and the drainage, and what they use the land for.

“It (the cable trench) will be no shallower than 1.2m which, from what we gather, is deep enough for most farming practices. We were talking about 0.7m at one point but a lot of arable farmers came to us and said ‘we plough close to that’, so we changed it. Our aim is that you should be able to get back on the land and use it as you did before.”

If built to full capacity of 2.4GW, the developers claim the Hornsea project could become the world’s largest wind farm, “capable of powering every home in Norfolk five times over”.

Dong Energy says the location of onshore infrastructure is largely determined by the National Grid, which offered the Norwich Main Substation as a connection point for the turbines’ electrical output.

CONSULTATION DATES:

• March 2, 1.30pm– 5.30pm: Reepham Town Hall, Church Street, Reepham.

• March 3, 3pm–7pm: Weybourne Village Hall, Beach Lane, Weybourne.

• March 6, 1pm– 5pm: The King’s Centre, King Street, Norwich.

• March 7, 3pm–7pm: Hall for All, Church Street, Weston Longville.

• March 8, 3pm–7pm: Corpusty and Saxthorpe Village Hall, Heydon Road, Corpusty.

• March 9, 4pm–8pm: Holt Community Centre, Kerridge Way, Holt.

• March 10, 2pm–6pm: Swardeston Village Hall, The Common, Swardeston.

For more information, see the Dong Energy website.

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