DONG Energy has abandoned its bid to drill 40 metres under sea defences at Sutton Bridge to bring cables ashore from its proposed Race Bank wind farm off the Norfolk coast
The company will now drill through two sections of the sea defences, as Centrica did for the Lincs Wind Farm, but residents have demanded assurances they will be safe from the risk of flooding and the sea defences will be fully reinstated and properly monitored.
They also want guarantees that there will be damage limitation to protect the marsh, where cables will be buried.
Representatives from DONG – Danish Natural Oil and Gas – outlined their latest plans at the annual parish meeting in Sutton Bridge on Tuesday.
The village was two inches from disaster on December 5, 2013, when water threatened to overtop the banks of the River Nene.
Parish council chairman John Grimwood said the sea defences stood firm that night but, if they hadn’t, the whole village would have been under water.
Installation of 72km of cable from the wind farm to the sea defences is due to start next year and there will be a further 11km onshore section that will go under land and roads to a new substation being built at Walpole.
DONG officials say the company will lower the height of the sea defence from 7.5m to 5.25m in two 9m wide sections, some 25m apart, and then put the cable through a further 6m below the new, lowered level.
Simon Gamage, a consultant who worked with Centrica and is now advising DONG, said reinstatement of the breaches was being monitored and was working well – and there will be similar monitoring with the new scheme.
The wind farm will have 91 turbines, standing 180m above mean height with a 155m rotor diameter, and is expected to have a 25-year lifespan.