Green light for solar farm capable of powering 7,000 homes

A new solar farm could be built between Swainsthorpe and Mulbarton. Picture: James Bass

A new solar farm could be built between Swainsthorpe and Mulbarton. Picture: James Bass - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2014

Plans for a 35-hectare solar farm that can power almost 7,000 homes and businesses have been approved by a Norfolk council. 

On Monday, Breckland council heard plans for the Three Bridges Solar Farm between Elsing and Lyng,  northeast of Dereham. 

The application, submitted by Pathfinder Clean Energy (PACE), will produce 15 megawatts of power, capable of powering 6,781 homes. 

Breckland District Council

Breckland planning committee heard the plans on Monday - Credit: Ian Burt

Robert Shaw, speaking on behalf of PACE, said battery storage on-site will ensure homes can be powered with renewable energy day and night. 

He said: “Both the UK and Breckland have declared climate emergencies and the renewable energies generated by this development will be a key part of tackling this while powering well over 6,000 homes and businesses per year.” 

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The committee heard the development will also produce a 240pc biodiversity net gain, with an increase in hedges and wildflowers. 

The site will be designed to enable continued use as agricultural land, with grazing for small animals, such as sheep. 

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Council officer Rebecca Collins told the committee the site is due to be operational for 40 years, with two additional years for construction and decommissioning.  

Farming leaders have called for a simplified tax system for diverse rural businesses. Pictured: Ewes

Ewes and lambs grazing between solar panels near Caister. - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2014

Once decommissioned the site will return to its current use - shooting of game, grass and agriculture. 

However, if the site were to stop generating electricity for three months or more it could be decommissioned early. 

Construction work is expected to take between three and five months. 
Several conditions were imposed by the council, including using mature trees to shield the site to protect nearby residents views and ensuring the upkeep of fencing. 

The Breckland planning committee voted unanimously in favour of the plans. 

Alex Ross, Director of PACE Developments in the UK said: ‘PACE is delighted to achieve planning on the Three Bridges project, despite the challenges of lockdown.  

“It’s our lead project in our initial 300MW UK pipeline that we intend to construct before the end of 2022.” 

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