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Solar farm proposals for Walpole Marsh

The solar farm boom continues in West Norfolk with a second application submitted to planners in as many weeks.

The latest proposals centre on agricultural land at Walpole Marsh running up to the River Nene and have been submitted by Walpole Green and Enso Energy.

Last week saw proposals submitted for a solar farm off Kilham's Way, Lynn, on land at South Wootton.

An example of a solar farm
An example of a solar farm

The Walpole site, is on about 78 hectares of agricultural land south of Gunthorpe Road, Walpole Marsh with the river on its western boundary. It would be connected by underground cables to the Walpole sub-station which is close by.

The proposal is for the construction, operation, maintenance and decommissioning of a ground-mounted solar farm which will generate electricity for distribution to the national grid.

The plans also contain provision for a battery storage facility which would be utilised to reinforce the power generation of the solar farm. All associated plant and equipment, together with associated development (such as CCTV and fencing) is also included in the proposals.

The farm would operate for a temporary time period of up to 35 years.

The site will be surrounded by high mesh fencing and while it extends to 78.64 ha only a small portion of this land will be “developed” by the proposals.

The design statement says that grassland habitats will be established and/or remain and improved underneath and between the solar panel rows.

The scheme has been designed to accommodate a continued agricultural use, specifically sheep grazing, during the operational period thereby retaining an agricultural function while generating significant amounts of renewable energy.

The construction of the proposal would take place over approximately seven months, with construction vehicles accessing the site via Gunthorpe Road.

During the operational phase, as detailed within the planning statement, the solar farm would generate renewable energy for the equivalent of more than 10,150 average England homes a year and compared to other forms of energy generation by non-renewable sources it would save 8,927 tonnes of CO2 per year, the equivalent of 2,952 cars.

It claims the proposal would make a valuable contribution to achieving energy targets, offsetting greenhouse gas emissions and help tackle climate change.

There has been public consultation and of the ten local residents who completed a feedback form or the online survey, three were in favour of the proposal, six objected to it and one person was unsure.

Issues raised included the volume of solar farms locally, construction traffic and visual impact.

The application has been submitted to West Norfolk and South Holland councils.

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