Countryside campaigners have welcomed decisions by the energy firm proposing to build two giant wind farms off the Norfolk coast which it says will reduce the impact on the environment.
Vattenfall, which is behind plans for the Norfolk Vanguard and Boreas wind farms, has said it will use a more advanced method for currency transmission, high voltage direct current (HVDC), which would narrow the cable corridor by more than half from 100m to 45m and mean no relay stations will be needed.
The Swedish firm also said it will use a horizontal drilling method to reduce damage to the cliffs at Happisburgh, where the cables will make landfall. This method will mean wildlife sites like Marriott’s Way and Knapton Cutting will be dug under rather than through, reducing disruption.
The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) had been campaigning for the use of HVDC rather than HVAC to transmit the energy as it would have a lesser effect on the countryside.
Michael Rayner, planning campaign consultant at CPRE Norfolk, said: “We are glad Vattenfall has made this decision.
“It was likely they were going to take both systems for approval and make their minds up later so it will mean a lot less worry for the local residents.
“The best thing for the countryside is that the trenches required for the cables for DC are 50% less than they would have been for AC and they will not need any relay stations so the outcome for the Norfolk countryside was the best we could hope for.”
Mr Rayner said CPRE Norfolk had also supported horizontal direct drilling in its response to Vattenfall’s consultation.
“We are in favour of it partly for safety but also for environmental reasons. They are not going to be drilling on the beach or between the tide lines, and that can only be a good thing.”
He added that he hoped the same drilling technique would be employed on the project when crossing river valleys.