Frequently asked questions

This page provides answers to questions that were asked during our consultation and are likely to be of interest to stakeholders and the wider local community. They will be regularly reviewed to ensure they are up to date and relevant.

Local involvement

Question: Answer:

How can the local supply chain and local companies benefit from this project?

An early study indicated that for the onshore construction phase, local small-to-medium enterprises could benefit from contracts totalling more than £250 million. This initial assessment was built on by a specific socio-economic benefit study that has found the gross value add (GVA) for the local area could be up to £400 million across the supply chain for the lifetime of the project.
Local companies will be well placed to take advantage of the opportunities which will be promoted via both the project and its Tier 1 and 2 suppliers as the project progresses. Initiatives such as supply chain events, supplier registration and facilitated sessions will be used to maximise transparency of opportunities. Companies interested in being informed of future opportunities can send their details to be added to the project supplier database.

What will you do to ensure local people are well-placed to have opportunities with the project?

There will be a wide range of local jobs during the lifetime of the project, from highly skilled to more manual roles (direct, indirect and induced), working with the project itself, as well as with local suppliers and contractors across the whole supply chain. Our initial socio-economic benefit study has put the total number of annual full-time equivalent local jobs at around 4000 over the lifetime of the project. North Falls will implement careers awareness, training and skills initiatives with local schools, educational institutions and training providers. These are likely to include apprenticeships, internships and other skills-related initiatives.

Will the energy be used locally?

It is not possible to say exactly who will use the electricity produced by North Falls as it will enter the national grid and be transmitted for use by homes, businesses and industries connected to the network.

How will you work with the local community?

During the development phase we will undertake consultation where we will gather feedback, input and ideas on our proposals, including on ways to engage with the community for the lifetime of the project. The information will be used during and post-consent to develop a detailed plan of how to most effectively work with the community in terms of initiatives with schools and other education facilities, community groups and charities. Community input will be sought to ensure it meets local needs and requirements.

Can local people invest in offshore wind farms?

At this stage it is not possible for individuals to invest in offshore wind farms other than through shareholdings with the owner companies listed on stock exchanges.

Planning process

Question: Answer:

Will the decision to proceed with the project be decided locally or nationally?

As North Falls is an offshore wind energy development greater than 100MW it is classed as a nationally significant infrastructure project (NSIP) which means it will follow a six-step development consent order process managed by the Planning Inspectorate. The first step, lasting over a period of approximately three years, is pre-application, which is the key time for the local community, including local Government, to input into the plan. This is followed by acceptance (within 28 days), pre-examination (typically three months) and examination (six months) before the Planning Inspectorate prepares a report on the application, including a recommendation, and provides it to the relevant Secretary of State. They will then decide whether to grant or refuse development consent.

In summary the decision will be made nationally, though as part of the process there will be a significant amount of local input throughout. More information about the process can be found on the Planning Inspectorate website.

How will the local councils be involved in the selection of the landfall or cable route?

Councils located within, and neighbouring, the development area are statutory stakeholders and will be consulted throughout the pre-application process. The feedback and responses received will be taken into account when preparing the final application proposals.

What is the timescale for the project?

Broadly North Falls is anticipating receiving consent around 2025/26, and getting underway with construction relatively soon afterwards to be operational by the end of the decade therefore helping the UK Government meet its targets of 50GW offshore wind by 2030.

Landfall

Question: Answer:

How was the landfall chosen?

The landfall location was selected following environmental and engineering assessments, consideration of consultation feedback and having taken into account constraints including designated sites, nature reserves, land use, historic features and technical feasibility. North Falls will place its construction compound to the east of Kirby Brook, avoiding Holland Haven Marshes and outside of the site of special scientific interest (SSSI). This location means that the cables will not go underneath Frinton beach huts. Horizontal directional drilling will be used under the golf club, with the construction compound placed to the edge of its western end to reduce impacts.

Will both North Falls and Five Estuaries reach landfall at the same place?

North Falls’ decided on the location of its landfall construction compound following consideration of its statutory consultation feedback. The decision means it will be closer to Five Estuaries announced preferred landfall (the northern option presented in its statutory consultation). This gives greater opportunity for the projects to coordinate their construction work at landfall.

Grid connection

Question: Answer:

What is the Offshore Transmission Network Review, and are you involved?

The Offshore Transmission Network Review (OTNR) brings together key stakeholders involved in the delivery of offshore wind, to coordinate interconnectors and offshore networks and their connections to the onshore network. This includes bringing forward any legislation or regulations needed to enable this coordination. It also asks participants to consider the existing regime and how this influences the design and delivery of transmission infrastructure. Basically it aims to ensure that the transmission connections for offshore wind farms are delivered in the most appropriate way and with the appropriate balance between environmental, social and economic costs.

North Falls is supporting the OTNR which aims to deliver improvements in the way offshore wind generation connects to the onshore transmission network and to facilitate a more supportive approach for interconnectors (including multi-purpose interconnectors) and other offshore transmission.

North Falls along with four other projects in East Anglia: Five Estuaries, National Grid Electricity Transmission's Sea Link, and National Grid Ventures' EuroLink and Nautilus have committed to exploring coordinated network designs. North Falls is also involved with the associated Offshore Coordination Support Scheme (OCSS).

How has the project's grid connection location been selected?

The grid connection location is determined by National Grid, which has offered North Falls a connection located on the Tendring Peninsula in Essex, part of the East Anglia GREEN project. North Falls continues to work towards this grid connection, in parallel to work under the Offshore Transmission Network Review. However, it should be noted that any grid connection offer, for example offshore, land-based infrastructure would still be required to transmit the electricity produced to the national grid for use by customers. For more on East Anglia GREEN you can visit the projects FAQ page: https://www.nationalgrid.com/electricity-transmission/network-and-infrastructure/infrastructure-projects/east-anglia-green-faqs

Why can’t you connect into one of the existing offshore wind farms?

North Falls is not able to connect to any existing offshore wind farms, such as Greater Gabbard, as their substations and cables are designed and built to operate at the capacity of those wind farms. It would not be practical or feasible to upgrade them - technically, economically or from a regulatory perspective - hence a new connection is needed.

Why don't you just have an offshore grid connection?

There are a number of complex commercial and regulatory hurdles that need to be overcome for the project to be able to connect offshore. These are currently being reviewed under the Offshore Transmission Network Review (OTNR) and Offshore Coordination Support Scheme (OCSS).

Some examples of changes needed include: new regulations around grid charging; revised rules related to the government's contract for difference auction to allow for joint bids; or changes to the current offshore transmission owner (OFTO) obligations. Other changes relate to how different projects are allowed to work together, for example, if one is required to make anticipatory investments to oversize their infrastructure so a later second project can benefit.

So while the OTNR and OCSS work on these complex issues is ongoing, we continue to progress the radial connection option as it is currently the only one that is feasible under existing regulations and legislation.

Will both Five Estuaries' and North Falls' onshore substations be at the same location?

Following its statutory consultation, Five Estuaries has selected its preferred substation search area which overlaps with North Falls’ substation search area. This provides opportunities for greater coordination throughout the ongoing planning period, during construction and also in the longer-term operations and maintenance phase.

How big will the North Falls substation be if there is an onshore grid connection?

North Falls consulted based on a substation footprint of eight hectares. Taking into account the consultation feedback, and also given further engineering design studies, this has now been reduced by two hectares to a total of six.

Cable route

Question: Answer:

Are you sharing the same cable corridor as Five Estuaries?

The cable corridor for both projects is now almost fully aligned along its length, with planning work ongoing around both the route and the future construction activity. The projects have signed a ‘good neighbour agreement’ which enables greater cooperation, coordination and transparency as the projects head towards submission of their development consent order applications.

How many cable circuits will the project use?

Previously the project had considered that up to four trenches would be required to accommodate up to four circuits, each containing individual cables and fibre optics to enable communications between the wind farm and the control system. However, this has recently been revised by both North Falls and Five Estuaries, with both projects now only requiring two circuits each. The decision from both projects will considerably reduce the width of the combined cable corridor.

How wide will the combined North Falls and Five Estuaries construction cable corridor be?

Both North Falls and Five Estuaries have reduced the number of export cable circuits from a maximum of four per project to two per project. This decision has enabled a reduction in the width of the proposed combined onshore cable corridor during construction, which will predominantly be 90 metres rather than the 200-250 metres which would have been required for eight circuits.

This allows for soil storage, internal haul roads and possible micro-siting plus the flexibility to use horizontal directional drilling under constraints such as roads. There is ongoing work to identify the final combined cable corridor which may lead to further refinements.

Local onshore and marine environment

Question: Answer:

How do you ensure you don’t need to remove or damage ancient woodland or trees along the cable route or at the site of the substation?

The process to select the cable route and substation site involves first identifying ecological constraints through a series of comprehensive surveys that cover habitats and protected species. Buffer zones are then created around key ecological constraints, such as ancient woodland, and every effort is made to site the infrastructure outside these buffer zones. Proven construction methodologies, such as horizontal directional drilling (HDD), can be used to install cables far enough under the surface so as to not damage vegetation and to avoid features such as hedgerows and marshland.

How do you ensure the protection of local birds and wildlife?

As a first step, a comprehensive set of ecological surveys is undertaken across the proposed development area. The presence of any species or habitat either protected in law or notable due to its rare, scarce or vulnerable status, is incorporated during the planning of the cable route and other onshore infrastructure. If feasible they will be avoided, or else measures to protect them will be included in the plans, for example, ensuring buffers around woodland. Where constraints cannot be avoided, proven mitigation measures will be adopted such as: scheduling work outside sensitive periods, ecological supervision, use of low noise machinery and acoustic screening of sensitive areas.
The project will seek to ensure at least 10% biodiversity net gain across the onshore area, meaning it will enhance the local environment in ways that will be agreed in consultation with relevant stakeholders.

The area is susceptible to erosion and flooding, how will you take that into account?

The North Falls Environmental Statement will include assessments on geology, ground conditions, hydrology and flood risk for each of the project’s construction, operation and decommissioning phases. This information will inform a Flood Risk Assessment (FRA) for the onshore infrastructure. The FRA will establish whether the onshore infrastructure may be affected by current or future flooding, whether it will increase the flood risk elsewhere and what mitigation can be implemented to reduce it.

Coastal erosion risk will be assessed as part of the project’s EIA, through the development of a conceptual model of local coastal processes. The electrical cables at the coast will be buried deep underground and the temporary construction compounds will be set back behind the Holland Haven Marshes SSSI, so there would be negligible risk of the works, or the presence of infrastructure, increasing erosion.

How will the local coastal heritage be protected?

The decommissioning policy for the project, including its components and infrastructure, has not yet been finalised. It is recognised that legislation and best practice change over time so the detail and scope is likely to be determined by the relevant legislation and guidance at the time of decommissioning, in agreement with the regulator. However it is likely the components and equipment will mostly be removed, reused or recycled wherever possible.

What impact will the location of the landfall have on the coast and local area?

There would be no permanent buildings at landfall and so after construction there would be no noticeable difference. However there would be temporary disruption as the cables are installed. A construction compound would be required near landfall for approximately two years however activity there would be intermittent. Mitigation measures such as adjusted working hours, use of low noise machinery and installation of acoustic barriers can all be used to keep disturbance to people and wildlife to a minimum. The main objective during construction will be to minimise disruption at the coast which will be done by employing a proven installation technique called horizontal directional drilling (HDD). By taking the cable deep under the site and out to sea, construction activity will avoid the Holland Haven Marshes Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and nature reserve.

Once construction at the landfall is complete, the land will be reinstated to its previous state.

Would there be light pollution from the onshore substation?

Once operational, substations are unmanned and therefore are not lit unless maintenance work is required, which is generally carried out in daylight. During construction there may be some night-time lighting required in winter, managed by using directional lighting and setting brightness limits, as well as some focussed security lighting. All substation lighting would be overseen through Artificial Light Emissions Plans, which will set out ways to ensure local populations and nearby wildlife are not adversely affected. No new streetlighting would be required for the substation.

What landscaping will be used around the proposed onshore substation?

National Infrastructure Commission guidance (published February 2020) sets out design principles for nationally significant infrastructure projects such as North Falls. These include the need to consider the cumulative impacts of other proposed substations and factors including substation orientation, fencing and associated landscaping and vegetation. North Falls site selection principles are also aligned to the Horlock Rules guidance on siting and design of substations.

At this stage in the project's development, the layout of the substation is not known, however once this is confirmed, an outline landscape design will be developed to ensure that appropriate and sensitive landscaping is developed around the substation. This will likely include the use of landscaping bunds, areas of native woodland planting and hedgerows to assist in integrating the substation operational footprint into the wider landscape fabric of farmland, hedgerows and areas of woodland.

What do you do to protect marine life during construction?

North Falls will be subject to full environmental impact and habitats
regulations assessments, undertaken in accordance with current regulations. These assessments will determine any potential impacts of construction on marine life, and mitigation where applicable.

When an offshore wind project receives consent, it is granted with numerous stringent conditions related to how the potential impacts of the project are to be mitigated. These mitigation measures are determined in consultation with stakeholders, such as the local fisheries industry, and government bodies such as the Marine Management Organisation and Natural England. It is too early in the project to specify the measures for North Falls however from experience they will include actions to minimise impacts on marine mammals and fish. It would be a legal requirement that the conditions are satisfied in order for construction to proceed.

Construction

Question: Answer:

How will the cables be laid out during construction?

During construction there will be one trench per circuit, and each trench could be up to 3.5m wide at the surface reducing to 1.2m at the bottom. An area is taken on either side of the permanent cable corridor for subsoil and topsoil storage.

How deep will the cables be buried?

The cables will generally be buried on land at a depth not shallower than 1.2m below ground level depending on ground conditions. Where necessary, for example if there is rock, concrete or another obstacle close to the surface, the cables may need to be laid at a shallower depth, with warning tape or tiles placed not less than 0.9m below the surface.

How will you manage construction traffic?

As a first step, a Construction Traffic Management Plan (CTMP) containing details of measures to control, monitor and enforce HGV movements will be developed for the project. This will also include details of how accesses and offsite highway works will be designed and managed to minimise the impacts of HGV movements on local residents. Also incorporated will be details of car journeys by personnel and focus on reducing single occupancy trips.

More specifically, to minimise the amount of traffic on the local road network during construction, a temporary haul road would be installed along the onshore cable construction corridor to provide safe access for construction vehicles, thus reducing the requirement for vehicles to travel via public highways.

Each public road that would have HGVs travelling on them during construction would either already be suitable for two-way HGV movements, or modified in advance of construction to enable this.

Further traffic management plans that need to be approved by the Council will specify exact requirements for example there may be a ban on construction traffic through certain areas.

How does horizontal directional drilling impact ground-nesting birds and wildlife?

Horizontal directional drilling has a low environmental effect upon wildlife and birds, particularly when compared with alternative cable installation methodologies (such as open-cut trenching) as it avoids the need to remove or disturb habitats. Drilling underneath nesting sites is less disruptive and quieter than digging a trench closer to a nesting site. If a nesting site is located in a work location, the works can be undertaken outside of sensitive periods, or acoustic and visual barriers could be installed to minimise the impacts on affected species.

Does horizontal directional drilling create noise or pollution?

The horizontal directional drilling process uses an inert clay as a drilling fluid, so there would be no pollutants released during the work. Noise assessments are undertaken in advance of drilling and if any unacceptable noise levels are predicted, then mitigation such as noise hoarding will be put in place to ensure that temporary noise effects are kept to a minimum.

How far away will you work from existing houses?

During the planning of the project's onshore cable corridor, the team has sought keep the route at least 250 metres from residential properties where other constraints allow. Where constraints mean that the construction footprint needs to be closer to residential properties than 250m, other mitigation measures to manage and minimise construction noise and dust will be implemented.

Will the sea wall promenade or the beach be closed during construction?

By utilising a cable installation technique that takes the cables underneath the beach, it is unlikely that either the beach or the sea wall promenade will need to close during construction. However there may be short periods of around 24 hours when access could be restricted due to specific activity that requires people to remain clear for safety reasons. For example if the cable installation vessel is close to shore and requires a clearance zone. The timing of any closures would be done in liaison with local users of the area.

Will footpaths and bridleways be closed during construction?

Where possible, footpaths and bridleways will be kept open to minimise impacts to recreational users. Where a footpaths or bridleway needs to be crossed by the project, a suitable temporary diversion will be created for the duration of work in that area. A full list of temporary diversions will be agreed with Tendring District Council in advance, and information on the duration and proposed alternative routes will be publicly circulated through site notices and local media.

What is the process for the construction of the onshore infrastructure?

Although the overall construction of onshore infrastructure could take up to three years, activity would be intermittent across the landfall, cable route and substation sites throughout construction.
Starting at landfall, once the compound has been established there will be a period of inactivity until the horizontal directional drilling takes place over a short time frame. There would be further waiting until the cables are delivered for installation through the ducts. Again this is a relatively short activity.

The cable installation would be completed sequentially. First the topsoil and subsoil is stripped and stored and the haul route constructed, the cable ducting installed and trenches, if employed, backfilled. The cables would then be pulled through the ducts before reinstatement of whole route including landfall. The sequential nature of the work means that potential disturbance would be localised as the work progresses along the cable route.

From experience of other projects, the most visible activity would be during the start of the process as the construction areas are being established and at the end during haul road removal through the movement of raw materials such as stone.
Construction of the substation follows a similar process; establishment of the site and its access, preparatory works for the installation and construction of the electrical equipment. Lastly the site would be landscaped and biodiversity enhancement works carried out.

Once construction has finished and the land along the cable route will be returned to its former use and other than the substation, there will be no above ground visible infrastructure.

How will you ensure drainage is not affected by construction, particularly around Damants Farm Lane where there is a drainage ditch?

North Falls will develop pre-and post-construction drainage plans in consultation with local landowners for all affected areas of the cable route. Additionally, land drainage systems will be maintained during construction and land drainage would be reinstated following completion of construction works during the reinstatement phase.

Are you aware of the cast iron water main north of Thorpe Lane, and if so, can you replace it as part of your construction?

As the water main north of Thorpe Lane is owned by the local water company, it would not be within the project's remit to remove or replace it. However we will liaise with the water company so they are aware of our plans and the feedback we have received during consultation.

What type of disruption could local residents expect near the landfall, along the cable route and near the substation?

Although the onshore infrastructure location will be designed to avoid as many constraints as possible (including houses, buildings and ecological and archaeological features) as this will be a construction project some disruption should be expected. This could be in the form of increased traffic, noise, artificial light and dust or mud. The project would however employ appropriate measures to minimise local disruption such as: limits on working hours, artificial light restrictions, noise specifications, limits on plant and machinery, and the use of water bowsers or road sweepers to clear mud and dust. Traffic Management Plans that need to be approved by the Council will specify requirements for example there may be a ban on construction traffic through certain areas.
North Falls will have a dedicated telephone number which can be used to contact the project should members of the public have any concerns.

Will the project's construction or operation impact local sailing?

Will the project's construction or operation impact local sailing?
The ongoing landfall site selection and engineering design process will take into account local stakeholders including recreational sailors and for example, timing of their regular competitions. The aim of our planning will be to ensure impacts in the nearshore project area are minimised.

When there is likely to be nearshore activity during construction, we would liaise with potential stakeholders in advance. Closer to the works dates, details and accurate location data of all activity will be communicated via notices to mariners and Kingfisher bulletins. This would also be the approach for any work required during the wind farm's operation.

How long will the onshore cable construction works last?

The installation of the onshore export cable is a linear construction project with an expected overall construction duration of between 18 to 24 months. As the construction works comprise a variety of activities, the duration of each activity at any location will be dependent on the nature of the construction activity being undertaken.

What happens once the construction works are complete?

On completion of the main activities, the cable corridor will be reinstated and handed back to the landowner. Such activities will include but not be limited to the removal of haul roads, installation of further drainage if necessary, reinstatement of topsoil and removal of fencing and temporary access arrangements in place. Reinstatement works are weather dependent and will only be carried out where the weather permits.

Following reinstatement, it will be possible for you to continue to farm crops and/or graze animals prior to construction. However, it will not be possible to place any type of construction (buildings) or plant deep-rooted plant species on the land above the corridor. This is to ensure both your safety and the integrity of the cables and allow maintenance to be performed on the cables if required.

Technical

Question: Answer:

What type of turbines will the project use?

North Falls has not yet chosen its turbines and, as wind turbine technology continues to advance, it is likely that the project will use turbines that are currently not on the market. The development consent order application will therefore include a range of options, from turbines available today to projected future technology, and will assess the worst case scenario for each impact. This is standard consenting practise, particularly in the offshore wind industry. It is referred to as the "Rochdale Envelope" approach. The turbines, and other technology and infrastructure, will be selected, post-consent to ensure the project can take advantage of the latest developments at the time.

How long before a wind farm pays back the CO2 emissions produced and energy used during its lifecycle?

There have been many studies on payback time of both CO2 emissions and energy used during the lifecycle of turbines and of wind farms. The answer depends on a number of variables including type, size and number of turbines, energy used in fabrication of components, location of projects, nation’s energy mix and so on.
However selecting results from recent studies: according to the German Environment Agency (Umweltbundesamt, UBA) wind power plants take between around three and 11 months to generate the amount of energy that was needed for their construction. Wind turbines operate for about 25 years and during this time, on average they generate 40 times more energy compared to the energy required for the production, operation and the disposal of a wind farm.
In terms of CO2 payback, studies by both Siemens Gamesa and Vestas have indicated that a wind turbine, by displacing generation from fossil-fuel power plants, needs to be in operation for less than 12 months to avoid as much carbon dioxide as would be released during its lifecycle.

If unexploded ordnances are found before construction starts, how would you remove them?

If an unexploded ordnance (UXO) is identified on the offshore site or cable route, the priority would be to avoid it. If this is not possible, the UXO would need to be cleared. There are a number of ways to do this however the preference would be to use a quiet, low order technique, rather than a high order explosion where possible. As a responsible offshore developer North Falls would liaise with the relevant environmental and regulatory authorities to ensure the most secure and safe removal to protect the environment, marine life and human safety.

Why are you proposing to have up to two offshore substations?

It is not uncommon for wind farms the size of North Falls to have more than one offshore substation. When designing the electrical system for a wind farm there are multiple options and technologies available. The aim is to design a system that is as efficient as possible, minimising any electrical losses. It should be safe, reliable and secure, and cost effective to build and operate. As a result more than one substation may be required. The technology around the collection and transmission of electricity from wind turbines continues to evolve at pace, therefore it is important that North Falls is in a position to utilise the latest technology, ensuring maximum project benefits.

General

Question: Answer:

Why put the wind farm here?

The Southern North Sea is an ideal location for offshore wind farms because it has an excellent wind resource, relatively shallow seas and is near to areas of high population, where the electricity generated is needed to power homes, businesses and support other energy dependent uses.

Will the turbines be visible from shore?

The answer to this depends on from where, the time of day and the weather conditions. But assuming from the closest land point to the closest turbines, there will be varying degrees of visibility. The North Falls project team recognise visual impact can be a concern for some stakeholders, which will certainly be taken into account in the ongoing design process for the project. The size and shape of the offshore wind farm array areas was reviewed and in late 2023 it was decided to drop the project's northern array. This decision took into account various aspects including seascape, with a view to reducing the visual impact on the coast where practicable. As a preview you can see our 3D visualisation of the proposed project from specific onshore viewpoints here: https://www.3dwtech.co.uk/dashboard/rwe/north-falls/portal-en/

How are you cooperating with Five Estuaries?

In July 2023, the projects signed a ‘good neighbour agreement’ that enables closer liaison, information sharing and joint planning as they both develop their proposals. This joint activity is ongoing and includes work on: adjacent landfall locations, alignment of the cable corridor and co-located onshore substations.

Towards the end of 2023, both projects will jointly engage with local communities, particularly those near the onshore substation location, to provide updates on the projects proposals, present how the infrastructure could look in combination and give further information on the design process and next steps.

Both projects are also exploring grid-related opportunities together with other infrastructure projects as part of the Offshore Transmission Network Review (see above OTNR FAQ).

Will you store the electricity?

No the electricity generated by North Falls will not be stored but rather will directly enter the national grid. Additional storage, for example a battery facility, is not part of our project proposals.

What are the long-term health impacts of living near a substation or other electrical infrastructure?

North Falls is committed to best practice health and safety in all of our activities and will comply with all industry standards and Government regulations when siting and designing our electrical infrastructure. When it comes to health impacts of living near electrical infrastructure, such as substations or buried cables, people generally refer to electric and magnetic fields (EMFs), which are invisible sources of energy associated with the use of electrical power and present everywhere in our environment. Wherever electricity is generated and used there will be EMFs. The typical exposure on an ongoing basis from domestic electrical equipment in the home would be higher than those our substation or near our underground cables would be likely to contribute to the overall EMF background at residents' properties. Electric fields can be effectively screened while magnetic fields reduce rapidly with distance from the source. By use of screening and ensuring our infrastructure is sited at a distance from residential properties, any electric and magnetic fields would be extremely low, or negligible, and would fall well under the accepted UK guidelines.

Will the project impact house prices?

As construction work at landfall and along the cable route will be temporary and there will be no above-ground visible infrastructure, we would not expect any impact on house prices at landfall or along the route. All cables will be buried underground. The substation will be the only permanent above ground feature and North Falls will follow the Horlock Rules for its siting and design to keep visual, noise and other environmental effects are kept to a reasonably practicable minimum.

What will happen at the end of the project's lifecycle?

The decommissioning policy for the project, including its components and infrastructure, has not yet been finalised. It is recognised that legislation and best practice change over time so the detail and scope is likely to be determined by the relevant legislation and guidance at the time of decommissioning, in agreement with the regulator. However it is likely the components and equipment will mostly be removed, reused or recycled wherever possible.

Could a mega ship (like the one in the Suez Canal) be blown into a wind farm it if was disabled?

The wind farm has been sited to avoid main shipping lanes, so if a vessel did lose power or hit a turbine, other vessel traffic could safely bypass it. Turbines are spaced wide apart, set out in navigation charts for vessels to avoid and sited away from close manoeuvring areas. Offshore wind farms have emergency action plans covering all type of incidents, including vessel accidents, and courses of action with multiple agencies such as the UK coast guard and shipping traffic controllers.

Landowners and agriculture

Question: Answer:

How is the route being defined?

The project has undertaken ecological surveys along with engineering assessments and ongoing consultation, including the statutory consultation completed in July 2023, to help define its route. In addition to this, landowner meetings will be ongoing as well as any further consultation. The feedback received from these meetings and consultation activities also contributes to how the route is refined.

How will soils be managed to ensure functionality of existing drainage systems?

A Schedule of Condition will be undertaken prior to entry to assess the soil composition and depth of topsoil. Prior to construction, a soil management plan will be prepared along with a soil survey. This information will be used during reinstatement to ensure the soils are returned to their former condition suitable for previous use. Subsoil and topsoil will be extracted and stored separately to prevent contamination.

Contractors will abide by DEFRA’s 2009 Construction Code of Practice for the Sustainable Use of Soils on Construction Sites PB13298 or latest relevant available guidance, ensuring the working area will be reinstated to its pre-existing condition as far a reasonably practical.

Drainage systems will be maintained before, during and post construction by appointing a Drainage Consultant to undertake an assessment of the existing drainage system in place. If alterations are to be made to the existing drainage system, the Drainage Consultant will prepare a design and scheme for the required drainage works on the land affected by the construction works and subsequent restoration.

Will North Falls have a Code of Construction Practice in the planning application?

North Falls will produce an outline version of this document for the project’s development consent order application. The outline will cover a large range of topics including how the effects from dust, noise, light, air quality, water/pollutant management, waste, and so on will be mitigated. It will be publicly available and will include details of how to raise a query regarding non-compliance of any of the contactors during construction.

What are jointing bays and link boxes?

Jointing bays are underground structures constructed at regular intervals along the cable corridor to join sections of cables together. Link boxes allow the cables to be bonded to earth to maximise cable ratings and are located close to the onshore export cables at jointing bay locations.

Link boxes are not required at all jointing bay locations, but as a worst-case scenario could be required at a frequency of one every 500m. The number and placement of the link boxes would be determined as part of the detailed design. Where possible, the link boxes would be located adjacent to field boundaries and in accessible locations. The only above ground infrastructure would be similar to a manhole cover to allow for maintenance.

Post construction, technicians require periodic access for inspection and testing.

Can I access my land during onshore construction works?

Access will be maintained by installing fencing and additional provisions such as gateways and water troughs to land which may be subject to severance otherwise. In depth consultations with landowners will be undertaken to devise suitable access arrangements and requirements.

A factsheet for landowners and those with an interest in the land  (February 2024) has been published to answer further land-related queries.

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