Fears solar farm will be 'blot on the landscape'
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A parish council has raised strong objections to plans for a new solar panel farm in Bramford.
EDF Renewables, a subsidiary of EDF Energy, has submitted plans to convert 85 hectares of agricultural land north of Tye Lane into a solar panel farm.
It has been projected that the project could be capable of generating enough electricity for the domestic needs of around 14,500 households every year.
But Bramford Parish Council feels that alternatives should be explored.
Simon Coulson, parish councillor, said: "While every member of the council fully accepts the need for renewable energy and believes in the ethos of this project, we believe there must be better options.
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"This development will take away more land, affect biodiversity, increase traffic and be a blot on the landscape.
"Also, the proposed land is some of the best for growing crops - and it doesn't help the planet to be importing the food that could be grown nearby.
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"And with so many new houses and warehouses being built, surely panels could and should be installed on those as they're developed.
"Brampton's parish council is objecting strongly to the proposal - we want to do the right thing for the planet but feel there are better ways to do that."
Chattisham and Hintlesham Parish Council has also objected to the scheme, citing similar reasons.
A public consultation was held last year, before plans were submitted, and alterations were made by EDF Renewables as a result of the feedback received.
The height of the solar panels was reduced, with more planting promised to act as screening and a bigger buffer from footpaths.
Proposals to improve biodiversity at the site have also been put forward. These include a tree belt, increased hedging and meadow cultivation, as well as access points and boxes for wildlife like badgers and bats.
When approached for comment, a spokeswoman for EDF Renewables said: "We listened carefully to the community during our local consultation exercise and will continue the dialogue with those same stakeholders throughout the planning process."