East Anglian Councils Pitch Offshore Ring Main Grid Link Proposal

North Norfolk District Council, working in partnership with East Suffolk Council, has expressed concerns about the impact of proposed onshore National Grid cable connections for offshore wind farms and wider implications for the district in a letter addressed to the UK Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

Under proposed plans, the North Norfolk and East Suffolk local authority areas will see approximately 40% of the UK’s offshore wind generation pass through their districts, having achieved landfall in their districts and then connecting with National Grid infrastructure via onshore cable connections.

North Norfolk District Council has positively embraced offshore wind developments in the North Sea, welcoming the move towards increasing generating capacity in renewable energy and recognising the vital national importance of moving towards a zero-carbon economy by 2050.

However, the Council shares the concerns of local residents, tourism, and agricultural businesses that the number of cable corridors and grid-related infrastructures now being proposed by offshore wind developments would cause intrusive and avoidable impacts on the district.

The letter, penned to the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Energy, proposes that the UK government explore the development of an Offshore Ring Main, to minimise the construction impacts on the coastal region in the short term and to rationalise grid connections for greater efficiency in the long term.

An Offshore Ring Main would connect to the National Grid through one single cable connection, potentially saving the North Norfolk countryside from widespread infrastructure works delivered over many years.

Leader of the Council, Cllr. Sarah Bütikofer, said: “We are the guardians of this beautiful area, and we have an important role to play in balancing the needs of addressing the immediate climate threat, with protecting the North Norfolk countryside and community. We need to find smarter ways of working together for the benefit of all.’’

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