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White Cross Wind Farm Update OCT 2023

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


White Cross Review _Oct_ 2023
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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 Verdict

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.

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6 Comments


Just because the modelling was designed by University of Plymouth scientists its use by Whitecross to do their own study is biased. There is no addressing of the bias within this piece. The overuse of the words "expert" also raises eyebrows. How is anyone at Christies Estates an expert in marine hydrology? Please, let's not mess this up, its our coast, and its a beach break. How deep is the cable? How wide is it? Is it directionally drilled? If so why close the beach? They can directionally drill it from inland..... Too many issues with this, and there seems to be some muddiness to this "report" which is not impartial enough to be useful to any of us.

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Kevin Cook ‘Cookie’, Yvette Curtis, Adam Hall, Ben Hewitt, Rob Whitney Please respond, I presume you have all resigned ? Who is now behind this organisation that is continued to be used by White Cross to legitimate their cabel route

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Thanks for the deep dive but it reads like a corporate press release, can anyone in the North Devon surf reserve recommend this company with its history with power plants and water https://www.greenpeace.org/international/story/46720/since-fukushima-disaster-decade/

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Floating wind farms protecting coastlines from damaging waves by reducing waves https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2352484721003383

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Also just to check these “experts at the University of Plymouth” can you confirm their independance and publish their peer reviewed research or does Chris just say it will be fine as his funding is from ultimately the company www.plymouth.ac.uk/news/boost-for-south-wests-floating-offshore-wind-ambitions

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