September 12, 2014

Campaigners outraged at Bicker Fen wind farm cable plans

Boston Target | September 12, 2014 |

A bid to lay 40 miles of cable from an offshore wind farm to link it to the national grid at Bicker Fen has “outraged” local farmers, according to a campaigner.

Renewable energy company RWE Innogy has been searching for a site in Lincolnshire to connect Triton Knoll to the grid and has now announced that Bicker Fen is its preferred option.

An estimated 200 landowners will be affected by the project which will require a 60m wide and 40 mile long strip of land to lay the cable.

RWE has said the project will attract £3billion worth of investment to the UK and has promised the land will all be returned to its original state after the cable is laid.

Campaigner Melvin Grosvenor says the plans are ludicrous and that the Wind Farm Action Group will be doing all they can to oppose the plans.

“I’ve spoken to farm owners and they are outraged. Farmers won’t roll over.

“It is an infinitesimal amount of money for the huge amount of aggravation and long lasting damage I believe this will do to their land.”

RWE originally identified 13 possible sub stations to connect Tritton Knoll to the grid, but says Bicker Fen is the best and cheapest option.

Triton Knoll director, Jacob Hain, said: “Connecting to Killingholme would have needed an extra overground sub-station costing £128m and need an extra 10km of underground cabling.

“Bicker Fen is a large infrastructure project which will see renewable energy fuel 800,000 homes and attract £3 billion worth of investment to the UK whilst reducing our carbon footprint. It’s a very important project.”

Mr Hain added that no damage will be caused to the landscape and any disturbance will be temporary as the land will be restored to its original state once the cable is laid.

But Mr Grosvenor said: “What they fail to recognise is, is that the disturbance to put the cable in might be temporary, but the wind farm is for 50 years and RWE said they have no obligation to take the infrastructure down – so it could be there forever.”

Rural surveyor at Savills Lincoln, Jonathan Wood, has been in talks with farmers and says their main concerns are the size of the scheme and drainage.

He said: “The cable route goes through some of the best farm land in the country and all the land here is reliant on artificial drainage to keep going.

“If it goes ahead it will need careful management of impact to ensure productivity of land is maintained to these high value crops.

“It’s a pretty massive scheme and the length of the cable is extremely long and the visual aspects won’t look great.”

He advises that farmers and people with any concerns about the project should not be afraid to raise them at the next consultation.

“RWE have been relatively sympathetic up to now but people aren’t going to be happy with the scheme and put their heels down.

“If they have any concerns then they need to be addressed in the right way so if it happens, it happens in the least damaging way.”

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