September 17 2014 Latest news:
Thursday, September 4, 2014
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.