Hive Energy has secured planning permission for an 8MW solar farm near Catterall and Claughton-on-Brock off the A6 that will generate enough clean solar electricity to power 2,400 homes offsetting over 3,440 tonnes of CO2. In addition, the approval will generate a community fund of at least £20,000.
The low grade arable land at Westfield Farm that is designated for the solar panels is around 40 acres in size and will benefit from a biodiversity and enhancement plan which aims to improve the natural environment of the site.
Tim Purbrick, Commercial Director at Hive Energy said, “We develop all our sites in line with the Solar Trade Association’s 10 commitments guiding best practice in solar farm development. As part of this, we identify opportunities to enhance the ecological value of the land and implement a range of biodiversity measures that will work in harmony with the solar panels. So at the same time as generating clean energy for thousands of homes, the site will also be a boost to local wildlife.”
Once the panels have been installed, sheep will be brought back to graze beneath the panels while grass and wildflower mixes will be sown. Specific habitat areas with bird boxes and areas for the installation of beehives could be placed around the site.
The panels will be scarcely visible to passers by as they will be well hidden from view by existing hedgerows which will be further enhanced by additional native tree and hedge planting. The site will be returned to its former use at the end of its 25 year working life without lasting impact on the land.
Construction will start this summer and the site is expected to energise in the autumn.
Green farm gets even greener as solar park is approved
Hive Energy are pleased to announce the approval for a 18.4 acre solar farm at Green Farm, in Oakley Road,Wix.Tendring Council approved the bid at a meeting last night.
The solar farm will be situated between Bradfield and Wix and will produce 5 MW of electricity, which is enough to power 1,103 homes.
Hive Energy initially submitted plans for a 30 acre site but following close consultation with local people, planning officers and Wix Parish Council revised and reduced the proposal to its current form.
Despite the scaling down of the project, Hive Energy have pledged to honour their original community fund donation of £28,000 to benefit local causes and will ensure the site supports the natural fauna and flora of the area.
Tim Purbrick, Commercial Director explains;
‘The beauty of solar is that the development will be completely reversible and after 25 years the land will be returned to agricultural use. The solar panels are protected by deer fencing and pile driven into the ground which means there is no need for concrete foundations. After the installation is complete new trees, grasses, wildflowers and hedgerows will be planted to improve the site’s biodiversity’.
Following no objections from statutory consultees, a Tendring Council Officer concluded, ‘There is no adverse impact on heritage assets, ecology, residential amenity, highway safety or flood risk. There is also the opportunity to improve biodiversity.’
The solar farm will mark a new era for local landowner, Tim Munson who has lived and farmed in Wix all of his life.The development will represent important diversification for his business and will allow him to continue agricultural production across the rest of his 100 acre farm.