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Boost over massive substation plans

PUBLISHED: 07:00 28 September 2009 | UPDATED: 14:17 06 July 2010

Richard Bacon.

Richard Bacon.

Campaigners against a massive substation in the Tiffey valley have received a boost after an energy company announced it was looking at other sites instead.

Campaigners against a massive substation in the Tiffey valley have received a boost after an energy company announced it was looking at other sites instead.

But a warning has been issued that the plans could still be revived - while somewhere else in Norfolk will still be chosen as the site for a new substation.

Warwick Energy is the developer behind plans for the Dudgeon offshore wind farm, 30km north of Cromer.

It will need to be linked to the main electricity network with a line of cables from the windfarm coast to the main King's Lynn to Norwich power line, and a substation underneath the power line will connect the two.

Residents in Barford and Wramplingham, west of Norwich, have been up in arms about plans to site a huge 30-acre substation there.

But Warwick Energy have now revealed that work on the site has been suspended because of technical difficulties about the cabling route.

They are now looking at other sites along the power line instead, but said they may return to consider the original site again.

Project director Mark Patterson said: “We hope to have reached a conclusion next month on a proposed site and then plan to hold a public exhibition in that area in November. We are not releasing the locations of remaining possible sites at this point.

“Whichever site is eventually chosen will be the subject of a full environmental impact assessment and will undergo the normal planning scrutiny. In simple terms we will need use of one field, away from housing, that lies directly under the existing main pylon network for the substation. No new pylons are proposed.

“The substation will be similar to the many already round the country. Once built, and the plantings have matured a bit, most people won't even know it is there but there will be some disruption and inconvenience caused during construction.”

The announcement came on the eve of a meeting between opponents and the government's energy minister. South Norfolk MP Richard Bacon took representatives from the Campaign Against Barford And Wramplingham Substation (CAWABS) to meet energy minister Lord Hunt.

Mr Bacon said: “I arranged this meeting because of local worries about the government's approach to the development of offshore energy generation and transmission. Any developer can come along and apply for planning permission to put a cable down from an offshore location to any pylon. We could end up with a whole series of point-to-point cables rather than a grid which would be much more efficient.”

James Duez, from CAWABS, said: “We are tentatively pleased. We are a bit hesitant because they have said they may revisit it. Our concerns on principle still remain.”

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