Mid Suffolk: Motion on wind and solar farm policy is dismissed by council

Mid Suffolk District Council in Needham Market. Mid Suffolk District Council in Needham Market.

Matt Hunter matt.hunter@archant.co.uk
Friday, January 3, 2014
6:00 AM

An “urgent” call for a council to improve the way it manages how solar and wind farms impact upon communities has been dismissed.

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Over the past few months there have been several major proposals for solar farms across the Mid Suffolk district.

In Baylham, near Needham Market, plans for a multi-million pound 50-acre solar farm faced criticism from the parish authority which unanimously opposed the proposals when they were first put forward in March last year. About 40 residents attended a meeting held to discuss the solar farm at the same time.

The company has since put forward revised plans after it withdrew the original proposals to allow site surveys to take place.

District councillor John Field, Liberal Democrat, who is chairman of Baylham Parish Meeting, put forward a motion to Mid Suffolk over concerns the council has “no agreed policies” for wind or solar farms. He said there was a “policy vacuum” that needed to be filled.

Mr Field’s motion was: “This council recognises the need for low carbon generation of electricity to reduce our impact on the environment. However it is concerned that it has no agreed policies for wind or solar farms to guide management of their impact on communities and of the loss of high grade agricultural land. The council therefore agrees to develop such policies as a matter of urgency.”

Liberal Democrat councillor Martin Redbond seconded the motion. He said there had been “278 applications” for solar farms across the country in 2013.

Green Party councillor Andrew Stringer said he would like to support the motion but argued it was wrong to suggest the council had no policies on the energy sector.

Suffolk’s police and crime commissioner, councillor Tim Passmore, Conservative, said it was important the council’s solar and wind farm policies did not damage the rural economy. Council leader Derrick Haley, Conservative, said a paper which would cover green energy policies would come before the council in the new year. Mr Field’s motion was voted down in the council meeting.

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