December 13 2013 Latest news:
Sunday, October 20, 2013
Proposals for the first phase of a huge new solar farm have been criticised because of the loss of vital farmland and the impact on the surrounding landscape.
Suffolk Preservation Society (SPS) has objected to the 75-acre project.
The scheme – submitted by UK Sustainable Energy at Foxburrow Farm, Brightwell – will generate 8MW of power, but this will eventually be almost doubled when a site at Walk Barn Farm, Newbourne, is added to the development.
The applicant is also proposing to set up a Community Benefit Fund including a lump sum payment of £20,000 with the fund administered by local people for projects in the area.
Parish councils near the site – Waldringfield, Newbourne, and Brightwell – have all made no objection to the scheme, due to come before Suffolk Coastal councillors in the next few months.
But the SPS said the land was classified as “estate sandlands” and is objecting to the use of a greenfield site, loss of agricultural land and the impact on the area.
Director Fiona Cairns said: “This (area) is characterised by its strong field patterns, with a flat and gently rolling nature and open views of up to one kilometre.”
Consultants Mosscliff Environmental said some areas of land had been omitted from the development to reduce visibility from the Suffolk Coasts and Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
The company said: “The site at Foxburrow Farm has not been in agricultural production for many years, and, as a result of the proposed development, will be brought back into food production use through the provision of access for sheep grazing in order to maintain the grass sward beneath the solar panels.”
The site would generate extra electricity to help businesses in the Martlesham industrial area which currently use 50,000,000kW of power per annum. An application for Walk Barn Farm will be made once the potato crop is harvested.