By RICHARD WOOD
Friday, September 7, 2012
A public exhibition was held yesterday for the people of Ellough and Beccles to view plans to build one of the largest solar farms in the country.
Lincolnshire firm Lark Energy invited members of the public to have their say before they submit a planning application to build a 150-acre solar farm at Ellough airfield.
The firm, which currently has three solar farms in the UK, say that the farm would produce around 30MWp of renewable electricity, an amount capable of powering 7,000 homes.
Yesterday representatives from the company spoke to local residents at an exhibition at Crowfoot Community Primary School, in Beccles, as they explained the benefits of the scheme.
Many welcomed the development ahead of wind turbines or an incinerator, although some concerns were raised about the visual impact and the increase of lorries on local roads during the construction phase.
Beccles mayor Graham Catchpole said that in his personal opinion it was an excellent idea.
“It is clean, unobtrusive, supplies a tremendous amount and does not damage the landscape,” he said.
Jonathan Selwyn, managing director of Lark Energy, said that the company was planning to create a number of new farms across the country and that the response had been good.
“I think people realise that the visual impact is pretty minimal. They realise it is renewable with no noise,” he said.
Mr Selwyn added that there was a growing acceptance of solar panels and highlighted the advantages of the farms, saying they require very little maintenance and that the land can be used for farming at the end of their life.
The £30 million project would see 90,000 panels installed on the site for the next 25-40 years.
Existing businesses would not be affected by this and it is hoped local companies will be used as part of the installation phase.
Lark Energy hope to submit their planning application in the next few weeks, with the aim of building the farm between January and March.
Police are investigating the death of a woman whose body was found in a garden pond today.
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