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Sedgeford solar farm a "real opportunity for biodiversity enhancements", say developers

Project leaders for the proposed Sedgeford Hall solar farm have called for community suggestions for how they can make the greatest impact on the area.

Developers claim the 44.5 hectare site could generate enough power for more than 6,000 homes, whilst reducing carbon dioxide emissions by more than 10,000 tonnes a year.

A virtual consultation was held on Thursday by energy company, Regener8 Power, to share more about the project as it enters design stages.

Ashley Fromberg, lead project manager, said: "We see the energy project as a catalyst to offer ecological enhancements to the area, this is a real opportunity that has been missed in the past.

"We are going above and beyond to offer more, from reconnecting the landscape to offering a real opportunity for biodiversity enhancements.

"We want to offer a tangible and verifiable benefit locally and we will put together calculations of the net biodiversity gain, this is something we are held accountable over by the local authority.

"We really want to engage local stakeholders and initiatives. We've looking to offer a community benefit and would welcome suggestions. I'd encourage anyone with suggestions of how we can have the most impact and help the most people to contact us."

The project leaders responded to questions during the consultation, but assured their audience there will be plenty of opportunity to raise concerns at every stage of the planning.

The presentation provided insight into plans to maintain and improve biodiversity in the area.

Tamzin Ramm, principal landscape architect at EDP, said: "We very much aim to go over and above what is legally required to improve the biodiversity net gain. We've been working towards that and hope to exceed it.

"We're using existing woodland blocks and enhancing the hedgerows so they integrate with the landscape and provide screening. Within the site itself, it is an impoverished site for wildlife but we have suggested planting wild grasses and wild flowers to improve biodiversity.

"We're planting hedgerows to 5m wide which will increase the habitat, enhance the landscape and provide corridors for wildlife to move along. Mammals such as badgers and hares may use these for foraging, it's the peripheral areas that hold the most benefit and we will enhance those areas."

They also plan to support animals already living in the area by creating 15m square skylark plots to provide food and space for the birds.

Responding to concerns over noise created by the site, Mr Fomberg responded: "I don't think there is anyone close enough to be impacted by noise form the site, but we will be conducting acoustic surveys for the local authority."

The full presentation and a video of the meeting will be available to view online at http://www.sedgefordhallsolar.co.uk this week.

The project managers have also asked that anyone with questions or suggestions contact them by email: regener8power@quantumpr.co.uk,

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