Scottish Power Renewables EA2 and EA1N
Our Ref: 190319
Your Ref: Phase 4 consultation
22 March 2019
The Town Council were content that the Broom Covert option, presented in Q4 2018, did not get progressed but remain firmly convinced that the landfall and positioning of the sub station (on both these projects) is still misplaced and unacceptable. It must be possible to utilise brown field sites, possibly around Lowestoft, for the intrusive works required to connect to the grid. This has to be looked into further and at governmental level to ensure there is a strategic and co-ordinated approach to the combined effects of all the current and anticipated proposals for this area.
The Town Council continues to believe that the construction of such visually intrusive complexes and such large-scale industrial developments where they are now being proposed will always be wholly uncharacteristic to this area and will affect tourism and local amenity on a large scale. Any further expansion of the energy industry outside of the current EDF, Magnox and onshore wind farm complex will irrevocably tip the balance, harm tourism and have a serious affect on residents’ amenity and their ability to enjoy the area in which they live. The proposed landfall at Thorpeness and associated cable route will severely affect our community’s quality of life and leave a visual blight on the landscape for many years to come. It is unacceptable to place these complexes within the close confines of rural villages like Friston and they should be located in positions better able to accommodate and disguise them. We still believe that any of the sites originally proposed to the west of Leiston in the onshore study area would extend and introduce the industrial development area right out into the countryside in a random fashion blighting a beautiful and agricultural landscape to an unacceptable degree.
If the DCO is applied for on the information presented however the following observations are made for your attention:
· If this does get approval it must be on the basis that the cable trenches will be filled in as soon as possible as the cable route moves west rather than the whole length laying open for years to come. Do a section at a time and re-instate.
· That both cables for EA2 and EA1N be put in place right at the start to save revisiting the site with the associated disruption again. This is imperative.
· That working hours in the compounds and on the haul roads be brought in to 7.30am – 6pm to give local residents and walkers etc. some dust free and noise free recreation time in their gardens and in the countryside.
· A very rigorous dust reduction regime must be put in place as the soil in this area is notorious for rising in the wind.
· The A1094, as it passes the junction to the B1069 (Blackheath Corner) should have a 40mph limit imposed. This should also accommodate the entry of the B1121 from Friston onto that road in the near vicinity. The detailed work done by SPR is noted but there should be another study done to look at changing the whole layout and visibility at this junction to increase safety of local residents further.
· Carraigeway widened on B1069 from Blackheath to Knodishall.
The increase in HGV movements of 250 a day split 50/50 between Snape and Theberton (for brevity) is over 100% increase in movements on both routes. The mitigation measures proposed for safety and to reduce driver delay at various junctions back to the A12 indicate just how unsuitable a major construction project like this is on the current road network around Leiston. It is noted that movements will be timed to ensure, for instance, that large HGV’s do not meet at Snape Watering but the idea of such vehicles routing through Aldeburgh and onto Thorpeness is very concerning indeed. The B1069 from Blackheath to Knodishall is difficult for local drivers as it is when there is a bus or farm vehicle encountered so work will need to be done here to widen the carriageway too.
No road should ever have a full closure because of this project and all PROW should only be closed for the minimum amount of time required for safety. The closures around the Aldringham Walks is a major loss of amenity to our residents.
The minimum compensation and mitigation that the Town Council would seek for this project is the upgrading and resurfacing of the track from the C228 to the Wardens Trust disabled retreat by Ness House. This would need some discrete speed humps along the route. The track at the moment is pitted and rough which makes the transfer of carers and disabled visitors very uncomfortable indeed. This would be a community donation by SPR over and above any community fund agreed with the principal councils. It runs beside the initial cable route and could easily be incorporated into the project. A Community fund should also be set up to compensate affected communities for the loss of amenity and disruption this project will bring. This should be much larger, and last longer, than the funds set up for Gabbard and Galloper due to the inclusion of the cable route and its long term consequences. It should, like the previous funds, be targeted appropriately at the affected communities.
It is still incredibly frustrating and baffling that the bigger picture cannot be strategically assessed to see just how unsustainable all the proposed energy generation and transmission projects will be in such a small area around Leiston. National Grid appears to have no forward-looking policy and just allocates connections as the projects appear. This parish (if all the proposals go ahead) will be responsible for a quarter of the country’s electricity supply by the 2030s. In addition to Sizewell C, the cumulative impact of huge pieces of highly visible windfarm related infrastructure, with no additional local jobs once built, would clearly be visible on our flat landscape and be unacceptable. Scottish Power Renewables are consulting on placing their substation at the end of a corridor in Friston, where 5 miles of countryside will needlessly have to be dug up for cables through the AONB itself culminating at the substation where multiple huge buildings, completely out of context and highly incongruous to the landscape would be the harbingers of further projects in the future. Every effort should be made at the highest levels to move some of the proposed connections elsewhere, to other energy hubs, but in the immediate future it must be recognised that the choice of location by SPR for this substation is completely unacceptable and must be rethought.
Leiston-cum-Sizewell Town Council cannot support or condone this proposal and, again, ask SPR to reconsider using this connection offer as a matter of urgency.
The Planning Inspectorate
FAO: Gail Boyle
3D Eagle Wing
Temple Quay House
2 The Square
Dr Therese Coffey MP