Suffolk County Council and Suffolk Coastal District Council have both responded with a great deal of frustration after hearing that Scottish Power Renewables has announced plans to site a substation at Grove Wood, Friston, as part of their offshore windfarms projects.
Both authorities had previously jointly stated that selecting one of the two proposed substation sites at Grove Wood or Broom Covert, was like choosing the lesser of two evils.
They feel that local needs are still being ignored and maintain their position that more should be done to co-ordinate these projects to minimise the impact on the local communities. Both authorities will continue working together, to express concerns to Scottish Power Renewables directly and through the next round of public consultations.
Cllr Geoff Holdcroft, Suffolk Coastal District Council’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member with responsibility for Economic Development, said:
“We have welcomed the ongoing interaction and consultation with Scottish Power Renewables during their pre-application process. However, we are concerned with their preference to site the onshore infrastructure at Grove Wood, Friston, as we consider this location to have significant adverse impacts on the landscape, heritage assets and the local community.
“We will continue discussions with SPR in advance of their next round of public consultation in seeking to maximise mitigation opportunities for this difficult site.”
Cllr Richard Rout, Cabinet Member for Environment and Public Protection at Suffolk County Council, said:
“We now find ourselves in a really difficult position. We have a responsibility to safeguard our fragile, unique environment in Suffolk but we also do understand that there is a desire for new jobs and economic development as part of a vibrant local and national economy. We have clear aspirations for Suffolk to become the Greenest County. These are still at the forefront of our minds and the potential impacts of such development are not particularly in keeping with our favoured approach.
“We remain gravely concerned that Friston is the wrong place for such development. The leaders of Suffolk Coastal, Waveney Districts and Suffolk County have written to the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy asking that the Government takes a more strategic view in planning how we manage energy infrastructure in the future so that issues such as this are dealt with properly.
“Although we are still opposed to the Friston site, we don’t have the authority to turn down the planning of these major infrastructure projects. So, we will do what we can to work with Scottish Power Renewables to find the maximum mitigation possible to ensure their project causes the least impact in the event that it is accepted by the Secretary of State in due course.”