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Campaign launches against South Lopham solar farm

South Lopham, Norfolk. Resisdents of of South Lopham are unhappy with the proposed solar farm developement around their property on the A1066 pictured from left Alan Briggs, Bill Bedford, Gillian Ashdown and John Ashdown ENGANL00120130412122826

South Lopham, Norfolk. Resisdents of of South Lopham are unhappy with the proposed solar farm developement around their property on the A1066 pictured from left Alan Briggs, Bill Bedford, Gillian Ashdown and John Ashdown ENGANL00120130412122826

A campaigner has called on his community to put their objections to Breckland Council after an application for a solar farm on Grade 2 agricultural land in South Lopham was submitted last month.

Alan Briggs, co-ordinator of the Lophams Against Solar Farms group, fears Breckland Council have set a precedent after a solar farm in Hardingham, on the same quality of land, was approved in December 2012.

AVIC-PCI Ltd submitted a planning application for a 10MW solar farm on 47 acres of agricultural land in South Lopham, just off the A1066.

Four proposed sites were unveiled in North and South Lopham in December, with three screening opinion applications subsequently withdrawn.

Plans for a screening opinion for a solar farm on land on Whitebreads Farm were also submitted, which Breckland Council decided did not require an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).

Mr Briggs, who lives opposite the proposed site of the development, said: “Recently Breckland Council approved a solar farm on the same quality land (Hardingham) we have got here which does not fill you with confidence, but at that particular application there was only 23 objections and three letters in support.”

Mr Briggs said if there were a significant number of objections to the plans it would give the village a chance of not hosting the farm.

“East Anglia is a farming area and there are farming jobs, not just the farmer, but contractors and haulage firms. It is undermining that particular industry,” he said.

But a spokesperson on behalf of agent Richard Pike Associates said that the plans did not spell the end of food production on the land.

“Sheep are very successfully grazed on many such installations around the world. They also help support biodiversity,” he said. “Nor is the land lost forever as some seem to suggest – the land can be returned to farming at the end of the solar installation’s life, which is around 25 years.”

A meeting is being held this afternoon at The Lopham’s Village Hall at 3.45pm, involving Lopham residents and the Lophams Against Solar Farms Group.

 

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