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MP ready to tell minister that 30-acre power plant plan is ‘unacceptable’

Community leaders are to meet a government minister to discuss proposals for a 30-acre windfarm substation which has been branded as “unacceptable” by opponents.

There has been uproar at the selection of a site near Friston for the project, which will provide the grid connection for Scottish Power Renewables’ (SPR) next two offshore windfarms, East Anglia ONE North and East Anglia TWO.

Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey will meet Energy Minister Claire Perry next week to convey residents’ concerns.

She will be joined at the meeting by councillors from both Suffolk Coastal District Council and Suffolk County Council as they seek a change to the plan.

Residents are deeply concerned because there are also plans for two major industrial-scale National Grid projects called Nautilus and Eurolink to share power with Belgium and Holland which will impact on the area, along with the possibility of Sizewell C.

People living in the area – who have now formed an action group to fight the susbstation plans – say they did not know its designation as an “energy hub” would lead to such “disruption, damage and destruction”.

Dr Coffey said: “I understand the concern people in Friston and nearby have expressed regarding the proposal by Scottish Power Renewables for their substation to be located near the village. I met SPR earlier this year to discuss the matter and expressed to them that the substations needed to be smaller and, if necessary, built into the land.”

“At the public consultation I reiterated my view that the proposed nature and size of the required buildings was unacceptable.

“I have now secured a meeting with the Energy Minister, Claire Perry, next week, where I will represent the concerns of local people. I want to assure residents that I will be pressing hard for a change to what has SPR proposed.”

SPR, which is currently carrying out a series of consultation events on the proposals, said it had decided on Zone 7 at Friston as the “preferable option” after extensive analysis of a wide range of issues.

It said assessments concluded Zone 7 affected fewer parts of the landscape and was less visual compared with other options and benefitted from substantial screening from existing woodland.