Whittlesey firm likely to become first in Fenland to build solar energy farm

WHITTLESEY based Abbey Renewables could become the first company in Fenland to win consent for a solar energy farm.

The company, part of the Abbey Group founded by entrepreneur David Sutton, expects to win planning permission for the farm next week.

The solar energy plant, proposed for Burnt House farm to the south of Turves and to the east of March, comprises a site measuring some 17 hectares.

Ironically Fenland District Council Planning Committee rejected a plan for five wind turbines on the same site a year ago but Abbey has appealed this decision and a decision is awaited.

Next week, however, the planning committee will be recommended by its officers to approve the solar energy farm proposed by Abbey.

The farm will generate up to 5MW of electricity, and the proposal involves installing rows of some 21,700 solar panels with a maximum height of 2.2 metres. Security fencing and cameras will protect the installation.

Councillors will be told that Government policy is to support the development of new facilities for renewable power generation.

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A report prepared by council officers says the landscape and visual impacts of the solar farm is unlikely to impact upon the area and from 2km or more the visual impact will hardly be noticed. Council officials say there have been no representations from individuals to the solar energy plant.

Access to the site will be from Burnthouse Sidings, which officials say is a well surfaced road but other works will be needed.

“A renewable energy development of this scale and capacity is considered to make an important contribution to the Government’s aim of reducing carbon dioxide emissions,” says a report to the committee from its officers.

“The development has the potential to give rise to significant biodiversity enhancements.”