Dudgeon Offshore Wind attempts to avoid compulsory purchase through final negotiations with Norfolk landowners

Since being purchased by Statoil and Statkraft in October 2012, Dudgeon Offshore Wind Limited has undertaken a comprehensive review of the plan for the development and construction of the Dudgeon Offshore Wind Farm.

This wind farm will generate sufficient electricity to power over 250,000 UK homes each year, but in order to reach these homes the electricity has to be brought to shore and transmitted into the National Grid network. This will be achieved by the installation of a 48km (30 miles) buried cable from Weybourne Hope in North Norfolk to Necton near Swaffham, where an onshore substation will be constructed to facilitate a connection to the National Grid network.

Planning consent for this onshore cable was granted by North Norfolk District Council and Breckland Council last year, since when discussions have been taking place with the 44 landowners under whose land the cable needs to be buried. Whilst Option Agreements to undertake this installation work during 2014/15 have been reached with the majority of landowners, a small number of them have yet to agree terms, so Dudgeon Offshore Wind Limited is now, as a last resort, preparing to make a compulsory purchase order to enable it to secure the remaining land interest along the cable corridor route.

In preparing to make such a compulsory purchase order, Notices will be erected along the public highways and footpaths closest to the affected land, and the relevant landowners will receive a Requisition for Information.

Kari Hege Mørk, the Stakeholder Manager for the Dudgeon Offshore Wind Farm project, stressed that whilst she and her colleagues will continue to try and reach agreement with the remaining landowners, time is about to run out:

"For the Dudgeon Offshore Wind Farm to generate first power to the National Grid in 2017, installation of the onshore cables has to start in 2014. Our aim has always been to seek agreement on acceptable terms with all the landowners, but unfortunately such agreement has not been reached with a few of these landowners. To ensure that we are able to meet the project’s critical timeline, we now have to consider using compulsory purchase, a right which is made possible through the Electricity Act 1989 and the Acquisition of Land Act 1981".

"The onshore cable will be buried at least one metre underground, and the land will be re-instated to its original condition once the installation is complete. Our aim is to minimise disruption as far as possible to all those parties affected by this installation, and it has therefore always been important for us to seek mutual agreement with all landowners."

Although the Dudgeon Offshore Wind Farm has offshore consent for up to 168 wind turbines generating 560MW of electricity, the recently completed project review has resulted in a formal application to DECC to vary this offshore consent to between 60 – 80 wind turbines generating a maximum of 400MW of electricity. The application, details of which can be found here, also seeks to amend the boundary of the offshore site, and to introduce new foundation options.

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Issue date: 30-08-13