Plans for west Norfolk solar farm given the go-ahead

Solar panels. Picture: Press Association

Stock picture of solar panels. - Credit: PA

A new solar farm that has the potential to power up to 13,500 homes every year has been given the green light by councillors.

West Norfolk Council's (WNC) planning committee discussed the application for 92,500 solar panels on Estuary Farm in Edward Benefer Way, South Wootton, on Monday, December 6.

It includes the erection of up to 49.99 megawatts solar PA array and 15 megawatts battery storage, with off-site cabling to connect to the King's Lynn substation.

Agenda papers published ahead of the meeting said construction on the 56.81 hectares site, which comprises of a series of agricultural fields, is scheduled to start in March 2022 and will last around six months.

It said: "The development would have a lifespan of 40 years, at the end of which the facility will be decommissioned and all the associated equipment removed."

The Open Space Society, Britain's oldest national conservation body, objected to the application on the grounds the development site is "located in a highly sensitive position".

It added: "A very historic public path passes directly through the site."

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But Namene Solar, the applicant, said the site was picked due to its "open, rural location" and because of its proximity to the coast.

And on Monday, a council officer told the meeting that the public right team did not object.

They said it was considered "the benefits of providing renewable energy outweigh any harm".

Beatrice Moda, of Namene Solar, said addressing climate change was "imperative" and that they had carried out environmental and ecological studies for the project.

She added: "We strongly believe the positive contribution this project can bring to the regional and national effort in fighting climate change."

The meeting also heard how the scheme would offer an "significant contribution" to promoting renewable energy, moving to a lower carbon economy and "encourage job creation".

Paul Kunes, cabinet member for environment at WNC, said solar panels were the answer to changing electricity supply in this country and was in support of them.

Paul Kunes, cabinet member at West Norfolk Council.

Paul Kunes, cabinet member at West Norfolk Council. - Credit: Ian Burt

Councillors also discussed the potential loss of farmland and habitat, and concern was raised over the removal of 11 trees.

But they were told the trees were in a poor state.

The council voted in favour of the application.

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