Late last year, Elgin Energy Esco Ltd submitted a planning application to build a solar farm on arable land at Foxholes Farm. The site is approximately one mile east of Titchmarsh along the Roman Road between our village and Clopton. The solar array will occupy 154 acres / 62 hectares of land.
STAUNCH would like to state from the outset that, as a group, in principle they are in favour of renewable energy. However, the group believes that all such schemes should be considered on the basis that they are appropriate and proportionate for the environment into which it is intended to site them.
In relation to the Solar Farm application, STAUNCH believes there are a number of reasons why this project should not go ahead. These are summarised in the group’s outline objection which you can download here >>
In these days of fuel poverty and global warming you might think it difficult to find an argument against renewable electricity. However, in this particular case, STAUNCH are concerned that perfectly good arable farm land is being torn up and taken out of the food supply chain. We must maintain productive agricultural land at all costs otherwise, as a nation, we will not be able to feed ourselves. We will become more reliant on imports which will push up the price of food.
Additionally, this initial plan may just be the start. Under current legislation, plans for Solar Farms producing 50 Megawatts (MW) and above are defined as Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects, and go through a very rigorous and lengthy approval process. At 49.9MW output, the Elgin proposal for Foxholes Farm is just under the threshold and is therefore not subject to such rigorous regulatory scrutiny.
Once established, however, there is nothing to stop the site from being expanded. Indeed Elgin have already identified more land on Foxholes Farm where they can add more solar panels..
Finally, it has already been determined that the roads to and from the site are too small to allow large lorries and plant machinery to pass. This will therefore inevitably lead to road widening and the potential loss of verges and trees along the Roman Road.
STAUNCH believes this plan is neither proportionate nor appropriate for this site. There are huge areas where solar farms could be built without negatively affecting landscapes or communities, but solar farm developers are not interested as often the necessary network infrastructure is not in place, making such sites too expensive to attract investors. What makes the Foxhole Farm site of interest to developers is the fact that an overhead powerline runs across the land – therefore allowing them to hook up the solar panels to the grid without additional investment.
If you would like to stop this project then please submit an objection at the following link:
Go to the “Comments” tab to submit your objection.
Read the STAUNCH outline objection for details of the key material issues that the group believe are most important.
To learn more about the site and the proposal, use the button below.