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Amazing drone footage shows vast scale of tomato greenhouse project

PUBLISHED: 19:28 27 May 2020 | UPDATED: 19:28 27 May 2020

A huge low-carbon tomato greenhouse is being constructed at Place Farm outside Bury St Edmunds. Picture: BOM Group

A huge low-carbon tomato greenhouse is being constructed at Place Farm outside Bury St Edmunds. Picture: BOM Group

BOM Group

An enormous tomato greenhouse is beginning to take shape in fields outside Bury St Edmunds – part of a £120m project to establish East Anglia as a trailblazer for low carbon farming.

Dutch contractor BOM Group is building two huge low-carbon tomato greenhouses in Norfolk and Suffolk, due to be operational by the end of 2020. Picture: BOM GroupDutch contractor BOM Group is building two huge low-carbon tomato greenhouses in Norfolk and Suffolk, due to be operational by the end of 2020. Picture: BOM Group

The vast construction footprint, covering an area larger than London’s O2 Arena, can be seen in these spectacular aerial images and drone video footage.

The 12.7-hectare development at Place Farm in Ingham will be used by a grower named Abbey View Produce, and is expected to create 150 new jobs by the time it is operational at the end of this year.

Along with a similar greenhouse being built on the Crown Point Estate outside Norwich, developers at Low Carbon Farming claim the combined project will have the capacity to produce up to 12pc of the nation’s tomatoes and sweet peppers in a hydroponic vertical growing system, warmed by waste heat recycled from Anglian Water’s nearby water treatment plant – a “world-first” model aimed at reducing the carbon footprint of agriculture.

Dutch contractor BOM Group said it is working “full steam ahead” within Covid-19 health regulations to have the greenhouses up and running by the end of 2020.

A huge low-carbon tomato greenhouse is being constructed at Place Farm outside Bury St Edmunds. Picture: BOM GroupA huge low-carbon tomato greenhouse is being constructed at Place Farm outside Bury St Edmunds. Picture: BOM Group

Chief executive Mike Vermeij said the pursuit of sustainability was “the foundation of the entire project”.

“The water coming into the greenhouse through this system will be 50C, and this will be used to keep the greenhouse at a steady temperature year-round,” he said. “It could potentially be a good example of what future installations will look like in the Netherlands.

“The total power of all the heat pumps and the CHPs (combined heat and power plants) to run them combined will take care of all the energy needs of the greenhouse.

“Not only is this quite a sizeable project for UK standards, but this is also the first of its kind when it comes to the energy supply – possibly even the first in Europe on this scale.”

A huge low-carbon tomato greenhouse is being constructed at Place Farm outside Bury St Edmunds. Picture: BOM GroupA huge low-carbon tomato greenhouse is being constructed at Place Farm outside Bury St Edmunds. Picture: BOM Group

Mr Vermeij said Brexit was “actually a big reason to undertake this project,” adding: “Local production and independence from imported goods have become increasingly important because of it. But the risks surrounding Brexit did end up delaying the project a bit, and we ended up adding an extra clause to the contract, because nobody really knows the actual consequences of it.”


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