Indicative image of an offshore wind farm. North Falls’ design may differ

Story so far

The Agreement for Lease between North Falls and The Crown Estate was signed in Autumn 2020 and the Project is now in its pre-application phase with the aim of submitting its application to the Planning Inspectorate later in 2024.

As a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP), North Falls must be consented under the Planning Act 2008 DCO process, which was introduced to streamline the decision making for such projects. If the Project’s application is successful, we anticipate being granted a DCO in 2025.

The Project is at an advanced stage of the pre-application phase of the DCO process. One of the primary tasks in the pre-application phase is to carry out an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) – a systematic and iterative approach to assessing the environmental, social and economic effects the Project may have.

Throughout this period there has also been ongoing technical design and engineering work to ensure the Project can be constructed.

The EIA process has included three previous stages of consultation: two non-statutory consultations, which ran from 25 October to 10 December 2021 and 17 October to 09 December 2022, and one statutory consultation, which ran from 16 May to 14 July 2023.

More information about these previous stages of consultation can be found by clicking here. This current targeted consultation will be the Project’s second statutory consultation and fourth consultation overall.

Glossary

Certain terms are written in green throughout this website and in our brochure. Explanations of these terms are included in an online glossary.

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The feedback the Project received during its previous three stages of consultation, as well as further technical, engineering and environmental work, has allowed us to:

  • Increase the distance from shore to the nearest point of the offshore array area by approximately 20km
  • Reduce the offshore array area by approximately 55km2
  • Reduce the number of wind turbine generators (WTGs) we will need by 15
  • Reduce the overall onshore cable corridor width at various locations from what was presented in our PEIR
  • Reduce the amount of onshore export cables we’ll need to connect the Project from four to two, significantly reducing the amount of land we’ll need throughout our cable corridor

These changes have been made to mitigate the overall impact of the Project.

No further changes have been made since September 2023 to the offshore elements of the Project.

The changes presented at this targeted consultation are exclusively focused on the Project’s onshore elements.

HOW NORTH FALLS HAS COORDINATED WITH FIVE ESTUARIES OFFSHORE WIND FARM

Working together to streamline design and minimise local impacts as far as practicable is important to both North Falls and Five Estuaries.

An important consideration for North Falls during its site selection and design work has been the proximity of the proposed Five Estuaries project. Although North Falls and Five Estuaries are two separate projects each requiring their own DCO application and being developed by different applicants, coordination between the two projects has been increasing as designs have progressed. In support of this, both parties signed a ‘good neighbour agreement’ in summer 2023, which has enabled closer liaison, information sharing and joint planning.

The primary goal of this coordination is to reduce any potential impacts of building the onshore connection to the national electricity transmission network for the two projects. This meant that North Falls sought to identify suitable options for the Project’s onshore infrastructure that could accommodate either the North Falls project alone or allow co-location with Five Estuaries.

Through coordination, we have or will be able to:

  • Almost fully align the onshore cable corridors
  • Identify possible shared works accesses and construction compounds
  • Exchange data and share surveys e.g. ecology and archaeology
  • Agree on a shared location for each project’s substation and identify possible shared access and screening concepts
  • Increase the coordination of engagement with landowners
  • Share our navigational risk assessments and measures to ensure vessel co-ordination during construction
  • Exchange information on project design at an early stage to carry out cumulative seascape, landscape and visual impact assessments

Closely aligning the onshore cable routes, substation locations, and landfall areas for the projects has reduced the amount of land required to build and operate both projects, as well as creating the possibility of reducing potential construction impacts through coordinated works.

We will continue to coordinate so that we can reduce impacts, support local skills and create employment opportunities.

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