Row over substation plans

Residents of Great Hale Fen in Lincolnshire are starting a campaign against plans for a substation to serve the Triton Knoll windfarm.

New substation 'blot' on landscape say residents

Residents in a Lincolnshire village have attended a meeting to discuss plans for a new substation - the size of 30 football pitches - which they say will be a blot on their landscape.

The development at Great Hale Fen will bring energy from 288 offshore wind turbines to the National Grid. 'RWE npower renewables' say they will carry out extensive research before submitting the plans.

The firm says if approved the development will help provide enough home-grown renewable energy for hundreds of thousands of homes. They also say the substation on the land will be well screened.

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Video: Residents fight substation plans in Lincolnshire

A group of residents in Lincolnshire have vowed to fight plans to build a massive electricity substation in their village. Great Hale Fen is one of four locations that RWE npower renewables is considering to bring power generated by an offshore wind farm to the National Grid.

But locals say it will be a blot on the landscape, and are worried about the impact on wildlife and the possible health risks, as Kate Hemingway reports.

'Planning ongoing' for wind farm substation will serve

Triton Knoll is a proposed offshore wind farm located off the east coast of England, approximately 20 miles off the coast of Lincolnshire.

The exact size of the project is not determined, but if granted consent to go ahead, Triton Knoll could generate enough energy for 850,000 households each year.

If constructed in full, the investment made by RWE npower renewables is likely to exceed £3.6 billion - a large proportion of which will be invested in the UK.

The wind farm itself could also generate around 825 jobs.

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Residents voice concern over substation plans

"The amount of trucks we're gonna have in the years of construction is quite terrifying. One of the big problems is the amount of traffic we're going to have on these Fen roads."

– George Savage - Resident in Great Hale Fen

"This is flat open countryside, to be quite frank with you this will just stick out like a sore thumb. The size of the substation that they're proposing to site is approximately 49 acres which is the size of thirty football pitches. It doesn't belong in this open countryside."

– Andrew Fox - Resident and farm worker

"Lincolnshire has sort of four types of landscape, we have the wolds, the Lincoln Heath, the coast, but we have the Fens, and we're very proud of the Fens. And we don't think it's at all right that something of this magnitude should be thrust upon us."

– John Mountain - Local farmer in Bicker Fen

Substation firm will "minimise impact on wildlife"

Concerns have also been raised by residents in Great Hale Fen about the impact the laying of extensive underground cabling could have on the wildlife and environment.

But the company behind the plans says there will be minimal disruption.

"We are responsible developers and great care will be taken to ensure there is minimum disruption or risk to any wildlife. Best practice will also be in place to manage traffic and good site practices, such as wheel washing, would be strictly enforced. We will keep those living in the vicinity of traffic routes informed in advance of any works that may affect them and we will explore the possibility of establishing a community liaison forum for two-way exchange of information with the local community. "

– Jacob Hain, Project Manager for Triton Knoll Offshore Wind Farm

Substation firm says 'no risk to health'

RWE npower renewables says four areas, where a substation could be built in Lincolnshire, will be carefully assessed before any planning application is made. The company has also responded to concerns about health fears, that were raised by residents in the Great Hale Fen area.

"Electric fields round a substation come almost entirely from the overhead power lines entering it however, there are no plans for overhead lines to be used for Triton Knoll. Fencing surrounding the substation for Triton Knoll will ensure that almost no electric fields emerge from the substation itself. Some equipment will produce magnetic fields however these fields will fall with distance quite rapidly and, at the perimeter fence, the magnetic fields are likely to be approaching background levels."

– Jacob Hain, Project Manager for Triton Knoll Offshore Wind Farm

"The UK Government sets guidelines for exposure to electromagnetic fields on the advice of the Health Protection Agency and all new equipment is designed to comply with these guidelines. The equipment associated with the proposed infrastructure connected with Triton Knoll would be compliant with Government policy and public exposure guidelines for EMFs. There will be no EMF's from the Triton Knoll substation in close proximity to properties."

– RWE npower renewables

The company says the substation will be well screened from view. The station itself will act as a host to the electricity that's generated from an offshore wind farm in the North Sea, transporting it to the National Grid.

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