Norfolk Vanguard campaign offers assistance to SASES & SEAS campaigns

Ray Pearce has lead the campaign against the onshore development proposals for Norfolk Vanguard offshore wind farm. Mr Pearce  posted an update on the ruling on the judicial review which recently quashed the DCO (Development Consent Order) for Norfolk Vanguard. Mr Pearce has now offered to provide any assistance he can to help us fight Scottish Power’s EA1N & EA2 proposals here in Suffolk and we are extremely grateful.

SASES welcomes the findings of the review and the judgement as many of the issues mirror those in Scottish Power’s EA1N & EA2 DCOs. In some respects Scottish Powers DCO proposals would have an even more profound & damaging impact here in Suffolk, as there is no existing grid infrastructure or substations at Grove Wood, Friston. At Necton in Norfolk there was already some existing infrastructure and an existing National Grid substation built for a previous development.

SASES stands firm in asserting that National Grid and Scottish Power have NOT made fair assessment of reasonable alternatives for EA1N & EA2 DCOs,  neither in the immediate area or further afield. We will continue to push along with our MP Therese Coffey for a more suitable solution either a brownfield connection point like Bradwell in Essex, or via an existing grid connection point like Bramford in Suffolk.  Developers must explore all avenues including an offshore ring main and multi-point connection hubs closer to London and the South East where most of the electricity is actually required. 

It is clearer than ever that there is something inherently wrong in how offshore wind projects are devised and planned. The onshore elements are huge and the current piecemeal approach has a totally unacceptable impact on the onshore environment. Onshore development proposals represent unnecessary damage that National Grid and power companies do not seem to want to acknowledge. 

This judgement proves that National Grid and energy project developers must find better alternatives and fast. The ball is now firmly in the court of energy companies to stand up and rise to this challenge.

We have published the full update below which links to the historic judgement.

Norfolk Vanguard - Campaigners Judicial Review Victory
Update on Offshore Wind Power WITHOUT Destroying the Norfolk Countryside


Dear Supporter,

I am pleased to be able to tell you that, with your welcome support, the development consent for the Norfolk Vanguard Wind Farm project has been overturned, and the Development Consent Order (DCO) has been quashed. 

You can read all the details of Justice Sir David Holgate’s historic judgement here:

May I encourage you to read the ruling in full, so that you can gain a true flavour of the degree to which Justice Holgate demolished the defence case. In the judge’s opinion, this was not a marginal error of due process. The Judge’s conclusions are at para’s. 164 & 165 with guidance for the SoS BEIS from para. 166 to 180.

To put the Judgement into context, since the regime of the Planning Act 2008 became law, and with the support of the National Policy Statements (NPSs), there has only ever been one successful challenge to a DCO and that was for the reversal of a refused consent which was challenged by the developer. Never before has a DCO been overturned and that consent quashed, as described in this blog:

Therefore, despite the Planning Act 2008 regime being remarkably resilient, the impact of last week’s judgement is likely to have a wide-ranging impact, especially given the various applications for offshore wind developments. No longer will developers be able to hide behind the permissive legislation for National Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIPs) without fully considering the cumulative impacts on the environment, and, alternatives for their projects, which they were actually always required to do so by law.

There was an immediate response from the Planning Inspectorate examining the East Anglian One North (EA1N) and East Anglian Two (EA2) projects requesting:

“Applicants and Interested Parties who wish to make initial observations regarding the recent decision to quash the SoS’s decision on the proposed development are invited to do so to assist the ExA’s consideration of the judgement.”

Many people in Suffolk, who supported this campaign, are working hard for the preservation of their countryside and environment. May I wish each and every one of them my very best wishes for a positive outcome. I will help both SEAS and SASES with my experience from the JR process where I can.

It is for the SoS BEIs to now lawfully decide how he will proceed post the quashing of the Norfolk Vanguard DCO. However, there is a window of opportunity for all members of the public to get behind the campaign to stop the building of the environmentally damaging onshore radial transmission systems and substations, and, have the numerous and successive wind farms off the coast of East Anglia connect to the National Electricity Transmission System (NETS) by way of the integrated offshore system now known as the Offshore Transmission System (OTN) (colloquially the Offshore Ring Main (ORM)). The move towards an integrated solution with shared infrastructure is gather ing pace through the full blown Government’ project – the Offshore Coordination Project (OCP) – this is a project not a concept!

Please could you write to your Member of Parliament (MP), tell them what you think and that you support the move for the rapid development of the OTN in order to save our countryside and rural way of life.

I will of course keep you informed of any developments from the SoS BEIS and, as such, will keep the Crowd Justice campaign page open as a conduit.

Thank you again for putting your faith in me to complete the successful JR of the Norfolk Vanguard DCO. I could not have continued to Court without your help.

Above all else though, please stay safe and sound at home.

Yours sincerely,