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Wind farm company Vattenfall denies shutting out villagers as campaigners say they want their voices heard

PUBLISHED: 06:30 08 June 2017 | UPDATED: 09:19 08 June 2017

Vattenfall's offshore Norfolk Vanguard project promises to be one of the largest in the world. Picture: Vattenfall

Vattenfall's offshore Norfolk Vanguard project promises to be one of the largest in the world. Picture: Vattenfall

© Ben Barden Photography Ltd.

The company behind two of Norfolk’s biggest wind farm projects has said an upcoming meeting with Necton parish council is not an attempt to shun the views of residents.

Where the cables for Vattenfall's wind farms could be buried in Norfolk. Pic: VattenfallWhere the cables for Vattenfall's wind farms could be buried in Norfolk. Pic: Vattenfall

Villagers have been waiting for a decision on whether a wind farm substation, linked to Vattenfall’s Norfolk Vanguard and Boreas projects, will be built close to their homes and were frustrated to be told in a recent parish council meeting that on June 14 the company would take part in a closed meeting with the council.

Jenny Smedley, who has been campaigning against the substation, said if the meeting is not opened to the public she will organise a protest.

She said: “Vattenfall told the public we would hear in June, and now we are told of a closed meeting and of a possible decision in October. That speaks for itself. Stress levels are through the roof.”

Another resident, Nina Matthews, said: “In order for Vattenfall to work with us as a village they need to openly collaborate with us, keeping meetings closed and not announcing decisions publicly as and when they happen can as a villager seem underhand and as if our lives and views aren’t considered.”

But a spokesperson for the company indicated there has been a misunderstanding over the meeting and said they arranged it in order to brief the council on a newsletter that will be distributed in the village.

Media officer, Jason Ormiston, said: “We are briefing members of the parish council so they are able to engage with the community. We are open to an open meeting if the council requests it. This meeting is to allow for an informed discussion with the local community and help work out the next steps. We don’t think anything is abnormal about it and we are committed to an open approach.”

The substation is planned for the area because of its proximity to an existing national grid substation. Vattenfall’s research has also shown it will make the least impact on the region and minimise underground cabling.

The residents, who have already had a substation for another wind farm built nearby, argue that the new substation will mean there will be a total of 70 acres of substations close to their homes and they fear such a big development will devalue their properties, impact on wildlife and potentially affect their health.

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