Proposals for Tivetshall solar park cause concern

Solar panels are proposed for a site at Tivetshall.

Solar panels are proposed for a site at Tivetshall. - Credit: PA

Concerns have been raised about a proposed new solar park which could see more than 300,000 panels built on an area of land in South Norfolk.

RenEnergy, of Blofield Heath, wants to build ground-mounted solar panels on a 100-acre site at Fernleigh Farm on Station Road in Tivetshall St Margaret.

The site, currently used to grow wheat, is east of the London-Norwich train line and, if given the go-ahead, would be made up of 311,000 solar panels, mounted 10-high to a height of three metres, as well as a 1.8m-high security fence.

The scheme was presented to Tivetshall Parish Council on Tuesday, and chairman Tony Jollans said there were about six members of the public present.

'A couple of them lived very close by and some further away but I think people were worried about land use and visual impact – there were a variety of things really,' he said.

'I went up to Worstead to see the installations up there and that's quite hidden from view – there's a bank from the road so you get glimpses and I don't think they have the same impact as a wind turbine.

'They do keep popping up everywhere though and there's one out in Pulham and an application in for Burston and some will get in and they will have an impact but I don't know how much.'

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In a report submitted to South Norfolk council as part of a request for a scoping opinion, which helps identify key procedural issues which might need to be addressed, the applicant said that hedges would be used to screen the panels. It added that electricity would be directed to the National Grid through a cable to Tivetshall substation, and argued that there was no need for an Environmental Impact Assessment.

Mr Jollans added: 'My gut feeling is that people are against it because it's change, more than anything else – but it's hard to tell and it's scary.

'I felt a bit more informed after the meeting but one issue I raised was about any benefit to the local community because there doesn't seem to be any. I'm sure there's scope for them to include something but this seems to have just been dumped on us.'