Norfolk Boreas wind farm approved by government despite objections

Norfolk Boreas could comprise up to 200 wind turbines, generating power for two million homes

A multi-billion pound wind farm off the coast of Norfolk has been given the go-ahead by the government.

The Norfolk Boreas farm could meet up to 5% of the UK's electricity needs, say its developers, but concerns had been raised by opponents about the damage and disruption that its onshore infrastructure - including cabling and substations - would cause to communities.

More than 90 parish councils had mounted objections to the wind farm over the impact to towns and villages in Norfolk, and the environment.

The decision over the project was made by the Planning Inspectorate because the scale of the project means that it is recognised as a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project.

In a letter published on Friday, the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said it was giving the project consent, and recognised the "substantial contribution it would make towards the delivery of renewable energy", helping the country meet its decarbonisation targets.

The cabling from Norfolk Boreas would run from Happisburgh to Necton, crossing cabling from another wind farm, Orsted's Hornsea Three. Credit: ITV News Anglia

The 1.8-gigawatt development will be built by the Swedish energy company Vattenfall over an area of 280 sq miles, more than 45 miles off the coast of Norfolk.

It was planned to be built alongside a sister project, Norfolk Vanguard, which is currently subject to a second decision by the secretary of state.

Vanguard received planning consent in July 2020 but that consent was quashed at the High Court in February, after an appeal by Norfolk resident Ray Pearce, who argued that the cumulative impact of both projects had not been considered when consent for Vanguard was granted.

Danielle Lane, UK country manager for Vattenfall, said: "I'm absolutely delighted that we've got the consent for this project. It's going to bring green power to two million homes and lots of green jobs to this region."

Mr Pearce, who also opposes Norfolk Boreas, said the decision was "a disgrace".

"It's damaging for the Norfolk environment, it's damaging for heritage, it will damage our tourist industry and it will not bring the jobs into Norfolk that they profess."

Campaigners now have a six-week period in which they can request a judicial review of the decision - the mechanism by which Vanguard's consent was quashed.

"It has been done before - it can be done again," said Mr Pearce.

Campaigners had argued that the impact on people and wildlife of digging huge cable trenches to bring the power ashore was too disruptive, and that developers should look at the possibility of building an offshore ring-main which could transfer the power to the grid without onshore infrastructure.