Capable of generating 573 megawatts (MW), the Race Bank offshore wind farm is located 27 km off the north Norfolk coast. The wind farm was taken on by Orsted Wind Power (formerly DONG Energy) in December 2013. We had worked on the project since 2004, providing planning and environmental support to the previous developer, Centrica.
Prior to construction we were appointed to support Orsted to amend and discharge all onshore pre-commencement planning conditions and to secure new planning permissions for the onshore substation and inter-tidal cable installation works.
Race Bank offshore wind farm
Orsted Wind Power
North Sea, Norfolk/Lincolnshire
We had previously assisted Centrica in consenting a new landfall location installation methodology. In the meantime, a new bespoke cable installation had been developed and further consent amendments were required, including new planning permission for the temporary modification, and permanent cable installation, beneath primary sea defences near Sutton Bridge in Lincolnshire. The consent applications needed to be lodged, and determined, at a time when construction of other parts of the project had already commenced, and permission had to be secured in a tight window to avoid any delay to the wider construction programme.
In order to avoid delays to construction of the project, consent was required within tight timescales for the implementation of an alternative cable landfall installation technique to install cables through the saltmarshes in the Wash SAC, SPA, SSSI Ramsar site, and beneath the primary sea defences in Sutton Bridge Lincolnshire. The works required new planning permissions and amendments to existing planning permissions, an Environmental Permit for works to the primary sea defences, a public right of way diversion order, and an amended marine licence.
All consents, permits and licences were required to be in place before works commenced in May 2016, and work had to be completed by the end of August 2016 due to environmental restrictions on over-wintering bird disturbance. In addition, the potential impact on the environment and flood risk was a highly sensitive local issue.
RPS worked closely with the project’s designing engineers and package managers to help guide the development of the project so that it met the planning and environmental requirements of the different agencies involved.
We identified the need to engage early and collaboratively with those agencies, and advised our client on the inter-relationships between them and how this could best be managed. We engaged extensively for six months with the Environment Agency, Natural England and the Local Planning Authorities, in order to ensure that once consent applications were submitted, as many matters were agreed as possible, and the risk to consent being granted was minimised.
To help address local concerns we met regularly with the Parish Council, building on previous relationships we had established from work in the area. All consents and licences were issued in time for works to commence on schedule, and completed before the end of the working window.
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