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MP sets up task force to secure investment for mid-Norfolk community from wind farm construction

PUBLISHED: 11:16 03 March 2018 | UPDATED: 11:16 03 March 2018

George Freeman MP is setting up a task force. Picture: Ian Burt

George Freeman MP is setting up a task force. Picture: Ian Burt

Archant 2018

A Norfolk MP is setting up a task force to negotiate with developers to secure “serious community investment” as part of the construction of wind farm infrastructure.

The once close-knit community in Necton, near Swaffham, has become divided between residents who are for or against substations, which are linked to offshore wind farms.

The rift began with the construction of a substation linked to an offshore wind farm operated by energy company, Dudgeon, and intensified when Swedish company Vattenfall unveiled plans to build a second, much larger substation nearby.

These tensions took a sinister turn when threatening graffiti was found scrawled across two locations with ties to the wind farms.

To discuss concerns and get an update from Vattenfall, Mid Norfolk MP George Freeman met representatives of Necton Parish Council, Vattenfall, Necton Substation Action Group, which opposes the substations, and councillors.

Mr Freeman also met landowners whose land would be used if the proposed substation is granted approval.

He said: “When a community has to carry major national infrastructure like the proposed substation at Necton, which would make the village home to the world’s biggest renewable energy substation site, I believe it should have a clear benefit.

“Not surprisingly, the news that the Necton substation will now have to be much taller, because of the decision to go for high voltage direct current (HVDC) to minimise environmental impact in north Norfolk, means heightened concerns in the village.

“Following the meeting, I am convening a task force of local community leaders and groups to negotiate with the developer to try and secure proper landscape screening and serious community investment for Necton, which will be key to avoiding a major local planning campaign against the proposed substation.“

As reported, obscenities were scrawled across a sign at the Dudgeon substation, near the A47, with a message that substations were not welcome. Nearby at Necton Farm, similar language was used in a veiled threat to the King family, who own sections of land which have been sold to Dudgeon and could also be sold to Vattenfall for underground cables and the proposed substation.

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