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Essex: Two former Second World War airfields set to become solar farms

PUBLISHED: 10:04 04 September 2014 | UPDATED: 10:04 04 September 2014

How the solar farm could look.

How the solar farm could look.

Archant

Two proposed solar farms on disused Second World War airfields in north Essex have been tipped for the go-ahead by council planners.

Developers Push Energy want to create the energy-producing solar panel arrays at the old Birch Airfield, in Blind Lane, and Boxted Airfield in Langham Lane, Langham.

Members of Colchester Borough Council’s planning committee will rule on the two applications during a meeting on Thursday September 11 from 6pm at the Town Hall.

Planning officials at the authority have recommended both proposals are given the green light, subject to planning conditions controlling the lifespan of the sites.

The Birch Airfield site would see an estimated 26,400 panels put up on a 6.8 hectare site (equivalent to around eight football pitches), enough to power approximately 1,485 homes during its lifetime.

In Langham, the 20 hectare site (25 football pitches) would power approximately 4,500 homes.

Both sites would have a lifespan of 25 years, and would allow sheep to be grazed underneath the panels to maintain agricultural use.

Objections have been made to both proposals, with concerns raised about the visual impact on the countryside and the lack of biodiversity promoted by the grazing of sheep as the sole remaining agricultural use.

However there is also some support for the plans from those who say solar energy should be promoted, and Boxted Parish Council also supports the Langham application.

Planning officers have also backed calls for a new bridleway to be provided by the developers across the Boxted Airfield site.

Police have confirmed no suspicious device has been found after the Center Parcs resort in Elveden was evacuated this evening.

Thousands of families and eager festival-goers braved the changeable weather this weekend to enjoy top bands, food and art at Jimmy’s Festival.

The wealth of “enthusiasm” for keeping Sudbury tidy has been revealed at a meeting organised by the town council, which plans to get the community’s efforts “on the map”.

Trains running to and from London Liverpool Street are being delayed, cancelled and revised as a result of a signalling issue this evening.

A 79-year-old man reported missing from Kedington near Haverhill has been found.

Suffolk New College is launching its summer programme of sports sessions for youngsters this week.

This is the story of the Neptune Inn in Fore Street, but before we learn of its history there are two diversionary tales, writes John Norman.

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