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Wind farm prompts safety concerns at Sutton Bridge

Community leaders in Sutton Bridge are repeating their concerns about two planned breaches in the sea defences as DONG Energy bring cables ashore from the Race Bank Wind Farm.

Parish council chairman John Grimwood said DONG outlined three possible methods of putting the cables through at a meeting in the village on Thursday, but says: “I am not happy with any breaches.”

In March this year, DONG abandoned its original proposal to drill 40 metres under the sea defences and said it would put the cables through the wall – as Centrica had – for the earlier Lincs Wind Farm

At that time residents and parish councillors demanded assurances they would be kept safe from the risk of flooding.

Thursday’s meeting was called by DONG to update stakeholders, including parish councillors, on the latest plans for the 580MW wind farm, which will be built 17 miles off Blakeney Point on the North Norfolk Coast and 18 miles off Chapel St Leonards, north of Skegness.

Cables will be laid under the marsh at Sutton Bridge, through the sea defences, and then there will be an onshore section leading to the sub-station at Walpole St Peter in Norfolk.

Coun Grimwood said the salt marsh at Sutton Bridge still hasn’t fully recovered from work done in 2011 by Centrica and, although DONG is having machines specially built, he says they are still to be tested in the marsh environment.

But he says: “DONG seem more concerned than Centrica did with the environment.”

It’s likely the company will begin offshore works for the proposed 91 turbines next year.

Work on the onshore cable route, which began in June, is nearing completion and work has now begun on reinstating the topsoil close to the substation at Walpole.

Electrical and mechanical installation works at Walpole are under way and are scheduled to last until April.

Currently DONG are carrying out an unexploded ordnance survey along The Wash cable route and have located several devices.

These are marked to safeguard shipping and are reported to the Ministry of Defence for permission to carry out controlled detonations.