Project may avoid breach of sea wall

News from the Lincs Free Press and Spalding Guardian,, @LincsFreePress on Twitter
News from the Lincs Free Press and Spalding Guardian,, @LincsFreePress on Twitter
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Contractors are surveying the marsh at Sutton Bridge to explore cable laying techniques that avoid breaching the sea wall when they start work on a £1billion offshore wind farm next year.

DONG (Danish Oil and Natural Gas) bought the Race Bank Wind Farm project from Centrica, which owns British Gas, last December for £50million.

Although the field is just 17 miles off the Norfolk coast, the export cable or cables will go through marshland at Sutton Bridge and continue for 11k to an electricity substation at Walpole.

Centrica has already built the Lincs Wind Farm, but that project sparked alarm in 
Sutton Bridge when a small crack appeared on the seaward side of the sea wall after it had was breached for a cable to pass through.

DONG Energy’s consents projects manager, Ian Renshaw, said work is going on now in the marsh area to explore the prospect of horizontal drilling.

He told Sutton Bridge Parish Council: “If we were able to do that, it would allow us to not interfere with the bank and not interfere with the salt marsh.”

Parish council chairman John Grimwood said: “I think it would make everyone in this room a lot happier if you don’t have to interfere with the sea wall.”

Sutton Bridge came within “two inches of disaster” in December when a tidal surge in the River Nene threatened to breach the riverbanks, but the sea defences stood firm.

The wind farm projects are also sparking alarm because of the world importance of The Wash as a marine life and wildlife habitat.

Coun Jenny Rowe said it’s a highly protected area and she was saddened a precedent was set when the first company was allowed to go out there to install wind turbines.

She told Mr Renshaw: “I find it incredible that Natural England are allowing you to touch it.”

But he said every single person and vehicle movement on the marsh required a special consent from Natural England before it could happen.

Construction of the 580MW wind farm, with up to 100 turbines, is expected to start next year.

Race Bank will generate enough electricity to power 450,000 homes.