Solar farm could be built in Boxted between Bury St Edmunds and Sudbury
A solar farm site spanning over 40 hectares could be built outside a village in Suffolk.
Full planning permission is being sought from Babergh and Mid Suffolk councils for the construction and operation of a ground-mounted solar photovoltaic (PV) development on the land west of Boxted, between Bury St Edmunds and Sudbury.
In a design and access statement, on behalf of Renewable Energy Systems (RES) Ltd, Pegasus Group said the development would have the capacity of up to 20MW of renewable energy and the site will take up about 43.7 hectares of agricultural land.
According to RES, the solar farm proposal has been through a detailed design process and includes solar panels, battery storage containers, inverters, substation, landscape mitigation and biodiversity enhancement measures.
The current site is made up of a series of six irregular shaped agricultural fields, divided by mature hedgerows, some of which include trees.
Construction of the development is anticipated to take six months and will have an operational life of 40 years.
After this time, it will be decommissioned, the equipment will be removed and the land restored to its original condition, with landscape mitigation retained on site. This process is anticipated to take 12 months.
In a planning statement, the applicant said: “There is a clear need for the development of solar farms and other renewable energy generation, which is driven by numerous government legislation at both a local and national level in the UK.
"Climate change is a threat to human well-being and planetary health and there is a rapidly closing window of opportunity to secure a liveable and sustainable future for all.
“The choices and actions implemented in this decade will have impacts now and for thousands of years."
As the proposed solar farm requires little maintenance, the site will be unmanned and to protect it, an unobtrusive deer fence will be installed around the perimeter of the site.
CCTV cameras with infra-red lighting will be installed, where required, on the perimeter fence.
A request for pre-application advice was submitted to Babergh and Mid Suffolk District. Councils in September 2022 and subsequent written advice was issued in November 2022 following a meeting.
Earlier this year, RES launched a public consultation and held an exhibition on its plans for the solar farm, which would be sited south of Moorhouse Farm.
The plans have been met with opposition in the form of the Save Glem Valley campaign.
It feels that solar farms should be located on brownfield sites and not on farmland and are also concerned over the visual impact it will have.