Two bids for solar energy farms in Whittlesey area to be decided on the same day
TWO bids to create solar energy farms in the Whittlesey area go before Fenland District Council Planning Committee next Wednesday and both carry an officers’ recommendation to approve them.
That might remain problematic since one of the schemes was refused when it came before an earlier committee.
Abbey Renewables wants to use 40 acres of land west of 15 Burnthouse Sidings, Turves, for their energy farm.
The application was originally refused in March and Abbey have, running separately, an appeal against that decision with a public inquiry likely to be held.
However their re submission, which would include installing some 21,700 solar panels, says a recent landscape survey shows the scheme would assimilate into the countryside with no adverse impact.
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Abbey is also contesting claims about the quality of land which will be lost, arguing that only a tenth is grade one and the remaining is grade two or grade 3a. The fact the development is not irreversible also means it is a form of farm diversification and could make a positive long term contribution to the agricultural business.
Lark Energy is proposing the second scheme, a small 20 acre solar energy farm at Reach Drove, Whittlesey.
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Town councillors say they have no objection and only one letter of objection has been put forward questioning the loss of grade two land and querying the amount of energy produced.
Officers say the site is poor quality grassland that is used mainly for grazing and such a scheme would help reduce carbon dioxide emissions are in line with Government policies.