Major projects body accepts North Sea wind farm application

Plans for a wind farm extension off the Suffolk coast comprising up to 140 turbines have been accepted for a public examination next year by the Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC).

The government body responsible for processing major infrastructure projects has validated an application submitted on 21 November for the 504MW Galloper wind farm, a joint venture between energy companies SSE Renewables and RWE Npower Renewables. 

If approved, the Galloper scheme will double the capacity of the Greater Gabbard wind farm, which is already generating electricity and is due for completion before the end of 2012. Each part of the combined development has the potential to power around half a million homes, the companies said.

"This is an important milestone for the Galloper project but is not the end of our engagement with the local community as we will continue to consult and listen to their views," said SSE Renewables managing director Jim Smith.

RWE Npower Renewables head of offshore development Alastair Gill said: "We believe the validation of the application endorses our view that we delivered our consultation correctly, with a strong emphasis on community engagement."

The commission is also considering whether to accept two other major projects submitted this month, both for projects in Lancashire. It has until 30 December to decide on plans for an underground gas storage facility at Preesall, north of Blackpool.

A decision is due by 4 January on whether to accept proposals lodged by Lancashire County Council for completion of a link road from the port of Heysham to junction 34 of the M6 near Lancaster.

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