Threats to the upper Glaven ecological network: Orsted Energy cable route

The Upper Glaven system above Selbrigg Pond in the Bodham-Baconsthorpe area consists of a mosaic of very valuable linked up aquatic, semi-aquatic and terrestrial wildlife habitats. In addition it harbours many important species of high conservation importance, including Great Crested Newt and White-clawed Crayfish, among many others.

Combinations of habitat loss (hedgerows, hedge margins, old trees, meadow, wet and ancient woodland), associated habitat fragmentation (especially for pond and hedgerow habitats) and high potential for water pollution (due to soil and nutrient loss to watercourses) make the proposed Orsted Energy wind farm cable a major threat to wildlife, not just locally, but for the wider Glaven ecological system, including its highly designed estuary.

The key issue at the moment is whether Orsted will take an HVDC (High Voltage Direct-Current) approach to power transmission as opposed to HVAC (High-Voltage Alternating-Current) as currently proposed. HVAC would mean a massive 80 m+ wide trench through the North Norfolk countryside, as opposed to nearer to 40 m with HVDC. No doubt the later is technologically more challenging, but this level of impact is, we feel, totally unacceptable and importantly unnecessary.

A restored pond, near Bodham, upper Glaven.

Significantly, the wind farm company, Vattenfall, whose cable will make landfall in east Norfolk, have recently committed to using HVDC which they say “would avoid the need for cable relay stations, use a narrower cable corridor (45 metres instead of 100 metres), and be quieter because it uses fewer components that emit low-frequency noise”. Quite simply the RGCG want the same for North Norfolk and the upper Glaven valley. Indeed, we are poised to make considerable noise, with many others, if Orsted Energy do not commit to HVDC.

The RGCG has recently written a document on key threats to an upper Glaven “Ecological Network” with regards to the Orsted Energy cable. It is strongly concluded in this document that an HVDC approach to power transmission would minimise damage to the upper Glaven’s remarkably rich and well connected wildlife habitats. Further by taking such an approach peoples enjoyment of the area and overall well-being will be safe-guarded in turn preserving Orsted’s good environmental reputation. The opposite would very much be true it Orsted do not go for HVDC.

Download the full River Glaven Conservation Group report – Threats to the upper Glaven ecological network: Orsted Energy cable route (PDF)

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