Solar panels

A power producer is looking to build a 27 hectare solar farm on Green Belt land in Billericay.

The proposed development by MS Power, for which plans have not yet been submitted, will be situated on two pieces of land off Outwood Farm Road.

Planning officers at Basildon Council were satisfied that the development did not require an Environmental Impact Assessment and now await a planning application.

This decision was discussed by the planning committee at Billericay Town Council last night (Tue 11 February 2014).

[quote width="auto" align="none" border="#0066cc" color="#0066cc" title="Ian Davie, Chairman of planning committee"]It is quite an enormous development. It is just to the east of Coxes Farm Road and one of the areas proposed for development in the core strategy is just to the west so that could have some bearing on the presence and the visibility of the farm. At present it seems to be quite well screened from most points of view although looking at the map with contours it looks as if the area to the west is higher. We have in the past objected to solar farms because we regard them as creeping industrialisation on Green Belt and that may well apply in this case.[/quote]

At last night's meeting, members of the planning committee voiced their concern over such a large scale development on Green Belt land and although a plan has not yet been submitted, they agreed they would express this concern to Basildon Council.

Each panel in the solar farm will have a length of approximately 1,640mm, a width of 990mm. They will be mounted in double rows and will be up to 2.5m above ground level and enclosed by a two metre perimeter fence.

The two parcels of land are separated by a Public Right of Way, which forms part of the Ramsden Crays Circular but the proposed development will not divert it.

Phil Turner, deputy leader of Basildon Council, said: “There is a concern over the size of it but there will be as many people for it as against it. Generating power from renewable sources is a sign of the times - we need to expect more of these to come in the near future. This is one of the first plans for a large solar farm I have known of in the borough - it will be interesting to see which issues arise as a result of that.”

The proposed site, within 2km of Mill Meadows and Norsey Wood, will be maintained by grazing sheep and after a 30 year generation period the farm will be decommissioned and the site retained to its agricultural use.

Article sourced from Brentwood Gazette

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