A planned new energy facility on the East Anglian coast has scooped a top planning award.

The Lowestoft Eastern Energy Facility (LEEF) - a major planning project supporting the region's fast-growing offshore energy industry sector - took the "best project" title at the regional Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) awards for Planning Excellence 2022.

The award - which recognises the positive impact of plans, projects and individuals in creating exceptional places and protecting the environment - went to port owners Associated British Ports (ABP) and local authority East Suffolk Council for their roles in the ongoing scheme.

Once complete, LEEF - which aims to provide state-of-the-art infrastructure to meet current and future industry demand - will enable the Port of Lowestoft’s Outer Harbour to accommodate the next generation of offshore support vessels.

The project started in November 2020 when ABP applied to the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) to carry out an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) to reconstruct the existing quay in the port's Outer Harbour.

It was awarded a licence and has worked in collaboration with the council on the scheme which will create more quayside space and 360m of deeper berthing space. This will enable three operations and maintenance vessels to use the berth at the same time. Other features include new offices and facilities for crew transfer vessels. Fish landing sites will be retained to support the local industry.

RTPI praised the project for demonstrating what can be achieved when the public and private sector work together.

“The grant of consent for the LEEF Project unlocks the potential for an energy cluster renaissance in Lowestoft, bringing new jobs and prosperity to the area and supporting the substantial and strategically important investments in offshore wind farm developments off the East Anglian coast," it said. “At a national level, LEEF has a major role in providing critical port infrastructure to enable the UK's clean energy transition and path to net zero.”

ABP's environmental lead Sophie Young said they were "proud" the development would support the production of more clean energy while bringing hundreds of new jobs and investment to the region.

“The collaboration between ABP, the MMO and East Suffolk Council has been exemplary, and has allowed us to deliver against the needs of multiple stakeholders in an efficient and coordinated way,” she added.

Councillor David Ritchie, cabinet member with responsibility for planning and coastal management at the council, said it had only been through close collaborative work and open, constructive communication with stakeholders that a number of challenges were overcome in the planning process.

“This means that the LEEF now has the potential to build on the already important role played by the Port of Lowestoft in the local economy,” he added.

MMO marine licensing manager Adam Chumbley said it was a "fantastic" example of what working together can achieve.

The East of England winners were announced on June 30 at the Hylands Estate, in Chelmsford, and will go on to enter the national final in October.