MP backs fight against 'unacceptable' solar park plans near Ipswich
- Credit: Dr Dan Poulter MP
MP Dr Dan Poulter has backed residents of Flowton, near Ipswich, in their battle against solar farm plans.
People in the village are fighting a proposal from Enso Energy which controls 252 acres of land close to the village.
They say that the plans would change the appearance of the area, and have set up a new organisation, CARE Suffolk, to oppose them.
Enso says the plans could generate electricity for up to 13,000 homes, and will use new technology that allows the panels to track the sun for efficiency.
They also say that they've taken steps to design a project that is sensitive and compatible with the local landscape and environment.
Speaking at the time of the application, in January last year, Enso Energy director, Ian Harding, said: “We’ve got to change the way we make energy in the UK.
"Our application follows Babergh and Mid Suffolk district councils’ declarations of a climate emergency, and the local and national climate change targets that are enshrined in law.
"We’re determined to use the latest solar technology to make a positive impact on the country and communities we work with."
However, following a meeting with residents, MP for Central Suffolk and North Ipswich, Dr Poulter has written to the leader of Mid Suffolk District Council, Suzie Morley, urging the council to implement an energy policy plan to support solar farms being located in the 'right' places as well as preventing 'inappropriate' solar park applications in the future.
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Dr Poulter said: “We all recognise the importance of increasing Britain’s solar energy capacity in order to improve both our energy security and to reduce our carbon emissions.
"However, what is being proposed in and around Flowton is completely unacceptable.
“The cumulative impact of three large solar parks will completely overwhelm this small village and at the same time, it will also take hundreds of acres of prime agricultural land out of food production, increase surface water flooding at times of heavy rainfall, and damage biodiversity.
“The time has come for Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Council, as the local planning authority, to introduce sensible planning policies and guidance relating to suitable locations for solar parks with a strong presumption in favour of brownfield and former industrial sites.
“Unless this is done, sadly we will continue to see the potential threat of future large scale solar parks being sited in inappropriate locations here in Suffolk due to piecemeal and opportunist applications coming forward from developers.”