You can now register as an interested party by submitting a Relevant Representation on the Application during the representation period between 30 April and 21 June 2024.

Representations giving notice of any interest in or objection to the Application must be made directly to the Planning Inspectorate through the Planning Inspectorate’s Registration and Relevant Representation Form. This is available to be completed via the Planning Inspectorate’s website for the Project using the web address below.

https://national-infrastructure-consenting.planninginspectorate.gov.uk/projects/EN010115

Alternatively, if you would like to request a paper copy of the Registration and Relevant Representation Form, please telephone the Planning Inspectorate on 0303 444 5000. Completed paper forms should be sent to The Planning Inspectorate, National Infrastructure Directorate, Temple Quay House, Temple Quay, Bristol BS1 6PN. The Planning Inspectorate reference for the Application (EN010115) should be quoted in any correspondence.

The Planning Inspectorate’s Advice Notice 8.2: How to register to participate in an Examination (December 2016), provides further guidance on how to register and make a relevant representation and can be accessed via the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/national-infrastructure-planning-advice-notes

Relevant Representations must be received by the Planning Inspectorate by 11:59pm on Friday 21 June 2024. (Please allow enough time for delivery if submitting a representation by post.)

In submitting a representation, it should be noted that the personal data and correspondence relating to any representation will be made publicly available. If you do not wish personal data to be made publicly available, you should state why when submitting the representation. The Planning Inspectorate will publish the representations with your name removed, however, the representations may give them less weight during the Examination as a result. Please note that all representations submitted will be published on the Planning Inspectorate’s website and will be subject to their privacy policy, found online here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/planning-inspectorate-privacy-notices/customer-privacy-notice

Application form and accompanying documents

The Application form and the accompanying documents, plans and Environmental Statement (including Non-Technical Summary) can be viewed and downloaded free of charge on the Project’s page of the Planning Inspectorate’s website under the ‘Documents’ tab:

https://national-infrastructure-consenting.planninginspectorate.gov.uk/projects/EN010115

The documents will be available online throughout the pre-examination and examination process.

The Non-Technical Summary of the Environmental Statement (document reference 6.1.5) and a Guide to the Application (document reference 1.3) will be available in the locations set out below until at least the end of the representation period (closing on 21 June 2024). The four libraries listed below also have public internet access, through which the Application documents can be accessed free of charge.

Location
Address
Opening Times

Tendring Visitor Information Centre

Town Hall, Station Road, Clacton on Sea, CO15 1SE

Monday to Friday: 9am to 3pm

Suffolk County Council Offices

Endeavour House, 8 Russell Road, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP1 2BX

Monday to Friday: 8am to 5pm

Clacton Library

Station Road, Clacton-on-Sea, CO15 1SF  

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday – 9am to 5.30pm

Wednesday: 9am to 7pm

Saturday: 9am to 5pm

Frinton Library

59 Old Road, Frinton-on-Sea, CO13 9DA

Tuesday and Friday: 9am to 5.30pm

Thursday: 9am to 7pm

Saturday: 9am to 5pm

Greenstead Library

Hawthorn Avenue, Colchester, CO4 3QE

Monday, Tuesday and Thursday: 9am to 5.30pm

Saturday: 9am to 5pm

Manningtree Library

High Street, Manningtree, CO11 1AD

Tuesday: 9am to 5.30pm

Wednesday: 9am to 1pm

Thursday: 1pm to 7pm

Friday: 9am to 1pm

Saturday: 9am to 5pm

The full suite of Application documents can be made available in printed format on request at a cost of up to £10,000. Requests for alternative formats (braille, other languages, etc) will be considered on a case-by-case basis. For all document requests, please contact Five Estuaries directly.

On 22 April the Planning Inspectorate formally accepted the application for the Five Estuaries Offshore Wind Farm project for examination.

The project, which is being developed by RWE on behalf of the project’s partners (RWE, a Macquarie-led consortium, ESB and Sumitomo Corporation) now moves into the ‘pre-examination’ phase of the consenting process; with the examination phase expected to begin later in the summer and last six months. 

“This is a major milestone for an important project that will generate renewable energy for the equivalent of hundreds of thousands of homes, support the UK government’s net zero targets, and create job and supply chain opportunities in the local area.”  

“Informed by feedback from the local communities and other consultees, the project’s design has evolved significantly over the last four years. I would like to extend our thanks to everyone who has taken the time to engage with us during the development process. It is through this engagement, alongside our close coordination with the North Falls Offshore Wind Farm project, that we have submitted proposals that deliver the best possible project, while minimising impact to local communities, wildlife and the environment.” said Diane Mailer, Project Lead.  

Five Estuaries is a proposed extension to the existing Galloper Offshore Wind Farm. The new wind farm would be split across two separate seabed areas covering 128km2 in the southern North Sea and create enough energy each year to power hundreds of thousands of homes.  

The project includes up to 79 turbines with a maximum tip height of 399m and would be located approximately 37km at its closest point off the coast of south Suffolk. Coming ashore at Sandy Point between Frinton-on-Sea and Holland-on-Sea in Tendring, Essex, underground cables then travel approximately 22km to a new substation located to the west of Little Bromley. Finally connecting the power to the proposed adjacent East Anglia Connection Node substation, part of National Grid’s Norwich to Tilbury Project.  

All of the application documents are available to view on the project page of the Planning Inspectorate’s website at https://national-infrastructure-consenting.planninginspectorate.gov.uk/projects/EN010115.  Anyone can register on the website as an ‘interested party’ to participate in the examination process, this is expected to open soon.  

The examination is expected to take six months, followed by a three month period for the Examining Authority to make their recommendation. A final decision on consent, taken over a further three month period, will rest with the UK Secretary of State for the Department of Energy Security and Net Zero, and is anticipated in summer 2025.  

Windfarm with boat

Joint statement from North Falls and Five Estuaries Offshore Wind Farms and National Grid: Projects welcome funding to enable opportunity to explore coordination feasibility

 

National Grid Electricity Transmission (Sea Link), North Falls (Offshore Wind Farm) and Five Estuaries (Offshore Wind Farm) have been working together to explore the potential for offshore coordination as part of the Offshore Transmission Network Review (OTNR) “Early Opportunities” workstream. The projects acting together in a consortium led by North Falls welcome the decision from the Department of Energy Security and Net Zero (DESNZ) to provide grant funding through the Offshore Coordination Support Scheme (“OCSS”). The aim of the scheme is to develop and explore the feasibility of coordinated options for offshore transmission infrastructure.

The consortium applied for OCSS grant funding in February 2023. Following the grant announcement, the consortium will now undertake a series of studies and assessments to determine the feasibility, challenges and solutions to enable a co-ordinated offshore connection. This work will consider the economics, engineering & regulatory challenges, logistics and programme delivery aspects. The first step will be a high-level feasibility study which is expected to be available before the end of March 2024.

All three participating projects are delighted to have been awarded the grant funding. This support enables the projects to consider an alternative coordinated connection whilst, in parallel, continuing to progress existing radial proposals to ensure no delay in building the much-needed infrastructure to support the UK’s net zero targets (should the offshore coordination be determined as not deliverable). As beneficiaries of the grant, we will be required to share key learnings on how a coordinated offshore transmission approach could work.

The consortium strongly support the Government’s ambition to make the UK the world leader in offshore wind. The delivery of the UK Government’s ambition of 50GW of offshore wind by 2030 will create green skilled jobs, strengthen UK security of supply, provide clean renewable power to fight climate change and help to reduce energy bills for British consumers.

Five Estuaries Offshore Wind Farm is proud to announce that we have signed up to Essex County Council’s Green Skills Pledge to help the transition to net zero and upskill the local workforce with green skills.

Green skills are knowledge, experience, values, attitudes and abilities that support carbon reduction and resource efficiency to increase climate resilience and enhance natural assets.

Essex County Council’s Green Skills Pledge aims to provide support in several ways, such as joining up resources, collaborating on green initiatives, sharing best practices in green skills development and contributing to the public debate on climate change. These skills are relevant to all areas of the economy, not just offshore wind, which is why it is crucial to address the green skills gap, together.

As Five Estuaries develops, it will not only create hundreds of jobs during construction, but it will also create many permanent jobs in the operation and maintenance of the wind farm over its 25–30-year life cycle. This Green Skills Pledge is a great initiative to ensure that the next generation of workers is equipped with the skills required for a greener future.

“Embracing Essex County Council’s Green Skills Pledge is a key part of the development ethos for Five Estuaries Offshore Wind Farm. We are committed to nurturing a workforce equipped with the skills needed to drive our industry forward sustainably.”

“This pledge reinforces our dedication to empowering our employees, aligning skills with evolving business needs, and actively contributing to the discourse on climate change. Through knowledge-sharing and a focus on greener practices, we aim to pave the way for a more resilient and skilled workforce, shaping a brighter, green future.” – Diane Mailer, Project Director

To learn more about the Essex County Council Green Skills Pledge, visit Essex Green Skills Pledge (essexopportunities.co.uk)

Five Estuaries Offshore Wind Farm welcomes the announcement from The Crown Estate to launch a formal process to assess capacity increases as one of the seven projects in the UK being evaluated. 

This process could enable a significant increase in capacity for the project, thus making an important contribution to the UK’s ambition to deploy 50GW of offshore wind capacity by 2030.   

The announcement of this review doesn’t affect the final stages of the development of our application, with submission planned for February / March 2024, or the associated grid connection agreement currently in place. The capacity of the wind farm is not a determining factor in the consent decision.   

With advancing turbine technologies higher capacities are capable of being reached through the use of larger and more powerful turbines within the same seabed lease area. Throughout the development process we have built in design flexibility to allow for such technological advances.  

As presented at our last stage of consultation, the size and number of turbines selected will be driven by what is available on the market when Five Estuaries is built.  However, our maximum design scenario for turbines (as presented at our statutory consultation in summer 2023) allows for turbines of a maximum tip height of 420m. The maximum design scenario would also allow for a larger number (up to 79) of smaller turbines. 

This initiative from The Crown Estate recognises that since awarding seabed rights to these projects, offshore wind technology has improved, enabling more clean energy to be generated from the same seabed area. The final capacity will be determined based on final site design and turbine selection prior to construction. 

We await the outcome of The Crown Estate process and its consultation with relevant stakeholders, including Statutory Nature Conservation Bodies and regulators. 

We are pleased to announce that the Five Estuaries project, along with seven other UK Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIP), is taking part in the Planning Inspectorate’s Early Adopters Programme.

This has been created to support Government thinking around how to improve the current planning process, which has, over recent years tended to become longer and more complex for various reasons. The programme has commenced at a time when associated National Policy Statements are in the process of being updated to reflect current legislation, energy reform strategies and Government targets. 

The Early Adopters Programme has been established for development projects which are preparing their applications, to trial potential components of a future Enhanced Pre-Application Service. The intention is for this service to be available to all developers as a mechanism to optimise frontloading and contribute to smoother examinations.  

We see this as an important part in the Government’s strategy to reform the pre-application and consenting process for NSIP’s to achieve more efficient and timely delivery of essential energy projects in the UK. We welcome being invited to participate in this programme and to trial some of these components. Following review of our consultation feedback and project deliverables we now anticipate submitting our DCO application in February / March 2024, rather than at the end of 2023. Our onward delivery timeline remains the same, to allow the Project to be generating renewable energy by 2030. 

Five Estuaries has been accepted onto the programme as we are due to submit our application for a Development Consent Order between September 2023 and March 2024 under the programmes criteria and have committed to trialling the following components. 

 

COMPONENT 1: Use of Programme Planning  

Developers are required to share detailed timelines to promote greater awareness of project programmes and key milestones to allow consultees to plan their resource and involvement effectively, to improve overall outcomes for projects.  

In support of this we have created a detailed programme which is available on our website and shared with key stakeholders. It provides details of key stakeholder engagement and meetings, consultation and community engagement activities, a breakdown of examination phases and other key project milestones. This will be updated and communicated regularly as an open source of information and to provide programme certainty and early warning of changing timescales.  

We shall be requesting feedback from key consultees on whether the increased awareness of programme dates was helpful in planning their involvement with Five Estuaries examination and consider whether there is a tool we can use to gauge whether giving more advanced information and/or notice of the programme improved the level or quality of engagement from consultees. 

You can view the project programme here 

 

COMPONENT 5: Production of Policy Compliance Document 

We will prepare a Policy Compliance Document (PCD) to accompany our DCO application. This is a simple and accessible document, which summarises and identifies policy compliance and any issues.  

We shall work with The Planning Inspectorate in production of this document and use our experience and best practice to create a template that supports this requirement. The emerging format of this document will be regularly reviewed throughout creation and through use in examination by The Planning Inspectorate and identified stakeholders.  

 

COMPONENT 10: Use of multipartite meetings 

Developers often hold multiparty meetings during Pre-application to highlight and resolve key cross-interest issues or reach consensus on the way forward. This includes more regular combined meetings with other developers in the region such as National Grid. This could include topics such as; Habitats Regulation Assessment, shipping and navigation and the onshore substation access. 

The Planning Inspectorate will act as a facilitator in these meetings to issue advice in relation to the planning and examination process. To establish how beneficial these meetings were, we shall request feedback from consultees and The Planning Inspectorate on how they supported resolving key issues. 

 

We look forward to working with The Planning Inspectorate to identify how beneficial these components are to simplifying the process.
 

You can find out full details of the Early Adopters Programme here. 

Hello and welcome to the Five Estuaries Offshore Wind Farm July update.

I hope that you are enjoying your summer so far.  

At present we are reminded of the impacts of climate change on a daily basis. With the unprecedented heatwaves and wildfires happening across Europe, the situation is more real for many. It is becoming critical to address the climate emergency, and the need for renewables projects like Five Estuaries are an important part of this long-term solution.  

With our Stage 2 Consultation having concluded in May this year, the Project is well underway with considering feedback to inform the refinement of our plans, ahead of the submission of our DCO application. As part of this, last week we announced the selection of our landfall zone and onshore substation search area, highlighting the reasons why they have been selected, how stakeholder feedback has helped to inform these decisions and how this allows more opportunities for coordination with North Falls. You can read the full update here

We look forward to continuing to engage with you over the coming months.

Best wishes  

Umair 

 

Sea and windfarm

Upcoming onshore surveys  

Over the coming months we will continue with our surveys across the proposed route. Information obtained from these surveys will provide additional data to supplement our surveys from last year. A brief overview of upcoming activity is below; however, we will provide further detail closer to the time once details are confirmed.  

  • Archaeological trial trenching – Following the trenching works our archaeologists undertook in May, with the agreements of the landowners we are looking to do some further limited trial trenching in specific areas of the route better understand the potential for buried archaeology. These are anticipated to take place in late September / early October.  

  • Geophysical surveys – The Project undertook archaeological geophysical surveys over a large portion of the route last year, which was reported as part of our consultation in Spring (you can view the report here.) We have some remaining land parcels to survey and with the agreement of landowners these are expected to be undertaken in late August / September.  

  • Tree surveys – An Arboriculturalist will be undertaking some detailed surveys of trees at specific locations along the route. These are to help us better understand the type, age and size of the trees, to help inform the design. These are anticipated to take place late August. 

 

Get in Touch  

If you have any questions about the Project, you can email us at fiveestuaries@rwe.com or call us on 0333 880 5306. 

Our Stage 2 (statutory) Consultation closed in May 2023, and since then we have been assessing and considering all feedback from this consultation alongside ongoing engineering, technical, and environmental assessments.

Our Stage 2 (statutory) Consultation closed in May 2023, and since then we have been assessing and considering all feedback from this consultation alongside ongoing engineering, technical, and environmental assessments.   

We thank those who have engaged in this process and as a result, in preparation for developing our final application, we are now in a position to provide early feedback on some of the refinements to our proposals.    

 

Onshore substation search area selection   

Since our first stage of consultation in Summer 2022, Five Estuaries has maintained two Substation Search Areas (SSA’s); SSA East and SSA West, for our onshore substation location.  

We can now confirm that the preferred location for the Five Estuaries substation to be within SSA West. This search area is adjacent to the location selected for the new substation for the National Grid Norwich to Tilbury reinforcement (previously named East Anglia GREEN) and overlaps with North Falls Offshore Wind Farm substation search area.   

Consultation feedback encouraged greater coordination with North Falls and National Grid. This site allows us to:   

  • Focus impacts in a single area when considering cumulative development.   
  • Have a lower overall land take with the SSA West co-located site when compared to locating the substations in different search areas.      

It also allows for co-ordination of design, which includes the potential for shared temporary and permanent access roads, co-ordinated design and landscape mitigation principles to support reducing impact on the surrounding area.    

 

Landfall zone selection   

Five Estuaries has maintained two landfall zones since our first stage of consultation between Holland-On-Sea and Frinton-On-Sea. This is where the offshore export cable comes ashore and joins the onshore cables to transport energy to the onshore substation via underground cables.  

The landfall areas shown in our Stage 2 Consultation were a southern area which passes under Holland Haven Park and a northern area which passes under Frinton Golf Course.

Five Estuaries have reached a decision to progress with the selection of the northern landfall zone, therefore removing the southern landfall from the application boundary for the following primary reasons:  

  • The northern landfall zone increases distance from non-breeding birds and breeding bird habitat. The northern corridor option carries a much lower risk of disturbance to breeding waders than the southern corridor option and therefore, the requirement for specific mitigation measures is likely to be lower.  
  • The selection of the northern landfall increases the distance to the closest sensitive noise receptor from approximately 300m to approximately 500/600m away.   

 

The above refinements are early adjustments and over the coming months Five Estuaries will continue to refine our proposals using feedback and engaging with technical stakeholders to determine route refinements around the landfall zone and to establish the exact location of the substation within SSA West. We will also undertake further work on the design and build principles and associated landscaping in the proposed substation location.  

 We will also continue to work with North Falls and National Grid to coordinate on proposals. Regular updates will be provided to ensure that local communities and landowners are kept up to date as our plans progress. Should you have any questions please get in touch.   

Get in Touch  

If you have any questions about the Project, you can email us at fiveestuaries@rwe.com or call us on 0333 880 5306.