Suffolk coastal wind farm plans opposed by county council

Wind farm Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Wind farms are being planned off the Suffolk coast

Proposals for two offshore wind farms have been opposed by councillors concerned that substations will cause damage to the Suffolk coast.

Scottish Power Renewables wants to build two wind farms, a cable route through Thorpeness, as well as three substations in Friston.

Suffolk County Council said it backed the principle of renewable energy but was concerned about the impact.

The energy firm said it had taken care to minimise any impact on the area.

The plans will go to the Planning Inspectorate for examination.

Image copyright Trevor Harris/Geograph
Image caption Councillors feared the proposals would have a detrimental effect on an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

The council's cabinet was concerned at the visual impact on the Suffolk Coast and Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the severe effects on the village of Friston, the planting mitigation, noise and disturbance on communities and road networks, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.

Richard Rout, Conservative cabinet member for environment, said: "These proposals, if approved, would together provide enough clean electricity to power approximately 1.5 million homes."

But he added: "We must cherish our Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and safeguard them from the impacts of development as much as possible.

"As this report makes clear, we do not believe that these proposals from Scottish Power Renewables do that."

Penny Otton, Liberal Democrat, Green and Independent group leader, said the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty was "nationally and internationally recognised as part of the tourist industry of Suffolk and I think it would be an absolute disaster to put that in jeopardy".

The cabinet welcomed the principle of the development but formally objected to the location of the substations and development around Friston.

Scottish Power Renewables said it would continue to engage with the local planning authority in the lead-up to and during the Planning Inspectorate's examination process.

A final recommendation to the secretary of state is not expected until the end of the year or early 2021.

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