The Administrative Jurisdiction Division of the Council of State this week ruled positively on the national spatial plan ‘Net op zee Hollandse Kust (noord) en Hollandse Kust (west Alpha)’ and the associated nature and environmental permit eventhough it encountered a flaw in the initial procedure for these permits.
The national spatial plan was established by resolution of the Minister of Econmic Affairs and Climate Policy and the Minister of the Interior and Kingdom Relations in April 2019 for the connection of the offshore platforms in the planned offshore wind farms Hollandse Kust (noord) and the northern section of the wind farm Hollandse Kust (west Alpha) to the onshore high voltage grid at the existing 380 kV high voltage station at Beverwijk.
The project comprises two offshore platforms, four 220 kV offshore cable systems and four 220 kV onshore cable systems, four 380 kV onshore cable systems and a transformation station with a maximum height of 30 m at the IJmond business area in Wijk aan Zee.
The project was granted the nature permit in April 2019 and in May 2019 TenneT, responsible for the offshore connections of offshore wind farms) received the environmental permit for the construction of a 220/380 kV transformation station in Wijk aan Zee.
Several parties have appealed these permits. Some of the reasons mentioned in the ruling were; fear of noise pollution by the transformation station, insufficient research for alternative locations for the station and the maximum height of the building being too high. Other reasons provided were the cutting of trees in a larg area and fear for environmental damage to protected nature areas such as the Natura 2000-area ‘Noord-Hollands Duinreservaat’ by nitrogen.
The Administrative Jurisdiction Division of the Council of State ruled that the project can go ahead although a flaw was detected in the permit decion making process. In the appropriate assessment that is the basis of the national spatial plan and the nature permit, reference is wrongly made to the appropriate assessment for the Programma Aanpak Stikstof 2015-2021 (Nitrogen Approach Program 2015-2021) to assess the effects of nitrogen deposition on, amongst others, the Natura 2000 site ‘Noord-Hollands Duinreservaat’.
However, due to an additional appropriate assessment performed by the ministers (of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy, Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality and of Interior and Kingdom Relations) after the decision, the council has been reassured that the development of the project will not damage the natural characteristics of the Natura 2000 area.
There are also plans to connect the future offshore wind farm Hollandse Kust (west Beta) to this offshore connection. The transformation station will have to be expanded in order to do so. A seperate will be established for this.