Experts ask for survey on £12m solar panel farm

Suffolk County Council’s archeological experts have asked for a survey to take place on land earmarked for a 40,000 panel solar farm.

Planning permission has been applied for by solar power company Hive Energy on a 50 acre plot at Hill Farm in Baylham which would provide electricity for 3,000 homes.

Although the company have conducted their own archeological survey on the land, experts from Suffolk County Council have asked that a further survey be carried out before the application is passed.

Hive Energy’s Commercial Director Tim Purbrick said every five acres of solar farm saved 430 tonnes of CO2 emissions a year.

He said: “When you apply for permission for a site like this you must conduct research and produce reports into the archeology, the transport, the heritage and the biodiversity of the area.

“With a solar farm development if you do come across archeology there are ways to stop that archeology being interfered with.

“We would take whatever measures we can to protect that archeology.

“We think solar energy is an important part of reducing CO2 emissions and securing our energy sustainability.”

Jess Tipper, County Archeologist for Suffolk, said: “At this stage we don’t know what is under the site - that is why we are asking for this survey.

“That site could have had prehistoric, iron age, Roman, Anglo Saxon through to medieval occupants.

“The Gipping Valley has been densely occupied with people from all these periods.

“Being that this is a large application we have asked for an archeological survey of the area. In this instance we will do a geophysical survey - that will hopefully show us what is in the ground.

“We would combine that with trenching across the site.

“The panels are elevated but most often they have big posts that are banged into the ground. This is about preserving the history for further generations.”

Mid Suffolk District Council is due to look at the application later this year.