Judicial Review of the Norfolk Vanguard DCO – Mr Justice Holgate’s decision.
Please see link below to the official publication of the judge’s decision.
Paragraphs 164 onwards contain the main substance of his conclusions.
Justice Holgate upheld the grounds of the claim and decided in favour of Mr. Pearce’s case.
For the moment, therefore, the Secretary of State’s decision of July 1st 2020 to consent the Norfolk Vanguard wind farm in its present onshore configuration is quashed.
We shall have to allow some time now for the full implications of this decision to emerge. In particular we shall await information on how the Secretary of State (SoS) is minded to proceed.
In this context, I would draw your attention to para 179 of the judge’s ruling:
“In these circumstances, it is very doubtful whether the Defendant could properly proceed to re-determine the Vanguard application, or to determine the Boreas application, without at least giving a reasonable opportunity for representations to be made by interested parties on the implications of this judgment for the procedures now to be followed in each application, considering those representations, and then deciding and explaining what course will be followed.”
In the meantime, however, the prosecution of this Judicial Review will have achieved, at the very least, two important things:
- a re-consideration by the SoS of the cumulative impacts of the Boreas substations at Necton, when taken together with the Vanguard substations; and
- more time for the fast-moving work of the government’s Offshore Transmission Network Review to refine its proposals for an entirely different and better way for this project to connect to the grid.
We all now need to throw our weight again behind the latter. This judgement is significant grist to the mill – but the battle for Norfolk isn’t quite over yet!
Finally, please see below a statement from Ray Pearce, published yesterday in the EDP online, which I believe concludes with a message to you all…
From the EDP online 18/2/21:
Mr Pearce said he was entirely supportive of the Green Energy agenda but stated he was forced into legal action because he believed Vattenfall’s plans had failed to deliver the wind farm in the most efficient way.
He said: “It is so important that we do this in the right way for Norfolk and its people. I would like to see the grid built offshore instead of kilometres of the countryside being ripped up for cables.
We have to look at the long-term agenda and the carbon impact – installing these less efficient routes and substations inland would mitigate the impact of the turbines for years to come.
I do not see this as the end of the wind farm – nor of the jobs they would bring. I see this as an opportunity for Vattenfall to do some pioneering work in the offshore transmission network and potentially create more jobs in maintaining that network.
This would ensure the network is more environmentally friendly and efficient in the long term.
Green energy is the new frontier, now that we have turned away from gas and oil, and we need to ensure that it is done with the environment in mind.
It might be my name on the decision but – although I am not an elected representative – I know I speak for people in Norfolk when I say that this was them standing up for their county. This has been a David and Goliath battle. A lot of people have pledged their expertise and personal funds to get us to this judgement.”