Consultation held about plans to build solar farm in Norfolk
18:45 19 February 2014
A solar farm developer and operator has held a public consultation into plans to build a solar farm in the Alpington and Yelverton area.
Lightsource Renewable Energy held the consultation at Alpington and Yelverton Village Hall on Monday over plans to build the solar farm at Avenue Farm in Yelverton to provide renewable energy for 2,000 homes.
Around 20 villagers attended the consultation to comment on the proposals, with a planning application likely to be submitted to South Norfolk Council in the future.
A number of revisions to the design had taken place, including the removal of an entire field from the plan, with the inclusion of a more secluded field to the north instead.
The revisions mean the planned solar farm is now further away from Yelverton homes, as well as the two public footpaths to the south and east. Sheep will graze among the panels and a wild flower meadow will be sown around the perimeter to improve habitat prospects for birds, bees and insects.
New hedgerow planting will help to screen the farm from the wider area and will also strengthen wildlife corridors and re-establish historic field boundaries.
Mammal gates in the fencing will allow small mammals to enjoy the solar farm area and pass through it undisrupted.
Jack Taylor, chairman of Alpington with Yelverton Parish Council, said the council could not comment until an application had been formally submitted, which could happen at the next council meeting on March 3, or the annual parish meeting four days later.
He said that personally, he was opposed to the plans, adding: “I do not like solar farms, whether they are here or in Devon or Scotland. They are economically unviable unless they have got subsidies and in the winter months they are not working.”
However, Conor McGuigan, planning and development director at Lightsource, said: “Solar power is a dependable source of energy and farming it creates a great opportunity to establish a sustainable local supply chain.
“There are many ways people can get involved – from the point of design right through to construction, fencing and enhancing habitats for local wildlife.”
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