White Cross Wind Farm: A Deep Dive into Its Impact on North Devon's Surf Ecosystem
In the heart of the climate emergency, the urgency for renewable energy has never been more evident. And this is the context for the proposal for the White Cross Wind Farm, within the wave window of the North Devon World Surfing Reserve (NDWSR). The NDWSR, a coalition of national and local organizations, believes in harnessing renewable energy, but not at the cost of the North Devon Surf Ecosystem.
Read our full review here
Wave Modelling & Beach Cable Landing Impact
A thorough wave modelling was commissioned to understand the impact of the wind farm on the surf ecosystem. Modelling was proposed by marine experts from the University of Plymouth and carried out by White Cross, the findings showed no significant concerns at Saunton or any other beaches. On the topic of the Beach Cable Landing, the research reveals a proposed plan for cables to run through the sandy substrate of Saunton Sands beach. Saunton Sands beach already has two telecommunications cables buried beneath it. The final locations and approaches need to be shared and examined and coastal experts from the University of Plymouth have offered to NDWSR experts will look at these. We would also call for consideration for sea-level rise scenarios to be taken into account while determining the burial depth of these new cables. Also two methods for cable installation are possible, with the HDD approach having the least impact. It is recommended the export cable should come ashore at the southern proposed route to avoid impacting the northern end of the beach where most surfers congregate
Access to Saunton Sands Beach
Many local surfers are concerned about access to Saunton Sands beach during the construction phase. White Cross has shared that in a worst-case scenario, parts of the beach could be off-limits for about two weeks to ensure public safety. Complete access to the beach will not be cut off at any time. However, the beach car park might lose up to 40% of its parking spaces for five months, with an additional 30% remaining occupied for the subsequent seven months. To minimise disruption, major construction activities, including the mobilisation of large equipment, are planned outside of the peak season. Construction traffic, especially on the B3231 between Braunton and the site, is expected but must be managed efficiently.
The NDWSR stands firmly behind the necessity of renewable energy. The review by experts showcases general satisfaction with the current White Cross Wind Farm proposal, believing it won't significantly impact the surfing reserve or its cherished ecosystem. Surfers have valid concerns about temporary access limits to Saunton and the inconveniences of construction and every step should be taken to minimise the disruption.
For those seeking more in-depth insights regarding the impact on the Burrows and parking, the NDWSR suggests turning to expert such as North Devon Biosphere, North Devon AOND, and Christies Estates, among others.
In conclusion, as we gear up to embrace this massive stride towards sustainability, it's crucial to strike a balance, ensuring both the environment and our cherished local spots remain unharmed.
Experts on the World Surfing Reserve Local Stewardship Council will assist the surf community by looking at all new information as it is developed and published.