Great Glemham: Villagers’ first look at solar farm vision

A VISION of self-sufficiency and renewable power production has been unveiled in a Suffolk village.

Green energy developers invited the public to inspect their proposal for a 75-acre solar farm on the outskirts of Great Glemham.

London firm AGRenewables joined landowner Argus Hardy in hosting an exhibition of plans for the 15megawatt (MW) capacity project on farmland at the former Parham Airfield, one kilometre south of the village.

Feedback from the event, held in the village hall, will be considered before proposals are submitted to district planners later in the summer.

The project could generate enough power annually for 4,586 average UK households.

The site is divided by a County Wildlife Reserve, which Argus Hardy’s grandfather and father developed from the old runway strip. The farm is part of a larger Higher Level Stewardship scheme, supervised by Natural England for restoration and creation of wildlife habitats, and educational access. Mr Hardy, who would lease the land to AGRenewables for the 20 year life of the panels, said: “I hope people can see that this is a well thought-out project and not a fly-by-night thing. Both partners are committed for the long term. The site is not of high landscape value and is away from populated areas. The project ties in with our environmental ideas and with the long-term management of the farm.”

Once installed, the panels would power a building containing grain store dryers. The design also allows the farm’s Alde Valley Flock to graze between and under the panels.

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Tom Harada, communications manager for AGRenewables, said: “The purpose of the exhibition is to have a range of people on hand to put across every aspect of the project.

“The bulk of the energy generated will go straight into the grid while helping to enhance what the farm is capable of.”

Steve Piotrowski, author of Birds of Suffolk, and president of Suffolk Ornitholigist’s Group, said enhancements to help balance the proposed solar farm will improve nesting and feeding opportunities for birds in the area. He added: “Great Glemham Farms estate is exceptionally good for birds with 79 species being noted in winter and 90 in summer. Undoubtedly, the Farm is already a wonderful place for birds.

“The arable land will be transformed to open grassland between the solar arrays, which will encourage grassland invertebrates and foraging opportunities for many species.”

More information can be found on the project website

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