Plans are being developed to create one of the largest solar farms in the country on an airfield near Beccles.

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Lincolnshire firm Lark Energy is hoping to build a 150-acre solar farm at Ellough airfield, predicting it would produce more energy in a year than is required to power homes in Beccles and Worlingham.

The company is aiming to submit a planning application for the site after a forthcoming public exhibition about the farm, with the hope that work could start by the end of the year.

If approved, the company says the farm would produce around 30MWp of renewable electricity, an amount capable of powering 7,000 homes.

Jo Wall, development director at Lark Energy, said: “The solar farm will provide local jobs during the construction phase and once operational, the maintenance of the site will need to be serviced by local companies.

“We’re also aware of how close our proposed site is to the UK’s largest solar roof installation at the Promens plant and the overall strategic aim for the Ellough Industrial Estate to provide local jobs in renewable energy.

“We hope that our plans marry with this and underline the local and Suffolk-wide commitment to renewable energy.”

The company has constructed 18MWp of solar farms in the country since June 2011, but has more than 100MWp of sites currently in development.

In February it announced a £35m plan to create one of the country’s largest solar farms at an airfield in Leicestershire, with a 30MWp project that would include 125,000 panels across 150 acres.

It is also planning a similar sized project in Hundon, near Haverhill, in Suffolk.

As with these plans, the company has said that it is keen to address any concerns of local residents before submitting their plans, and will be holding a public exhibition on the proposals.

Ms Wall added: “The public exhibition provides us with an opportunity to talk with the local community about our plans and gather feedback before submitting any planning application. We’d like as many residents to attend as possible.”

The firm has said that attempts will be made to ensure any future developments have the minimum possible impact on the surrounding communities.

A spokesman for the company said: “The proposed site is close to a handful of residential properties and measures will be used to ensure the solar panels are not highly visible.

“Existing tree and hedgerow boundaries will be maintained and additional boundaries will be planted to provide visual screening.”

A transport management plan will also be prepared in consultation with Suffolk Highways, with the company acknowledging concerns about lorries using the B1127 road between the A12 and Ellough, via Hulver.

The public exhibition is to be held at Crowfoot Community Primary School, Ellough Road, Beccles, 3.30pm to 7pm on September 6.

richard.wood@archant.co.uk

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