Fears for solar farm impact on Brecks birds and scenery

66 hectares of solar panels may appear on the Brecks SUS-140326-115700001
66 hectares of solar panels may appear on the Brecks SUS-140326-115700001

Plans for a 66 hectare solar power farm in a Brecks site of special scientific interest will be considered by councillors next week.

The application is for 118,900 solar panels on six parcels of land on Elveden Estate about a mile from Barnham and is within an SSSI for stone curlew and a special protection area for stone curlew, woodlark and nightjar.

However, the application includes plans to improve 262 hectares of nearby land for the birds.

Officers have recommended St Edmundsbury’s Development Control Committee, which meets next Thursday, should approve the plan with strict conditions, including that the habitat ‘mitigation’ be done before panels are put up.

Barnham Parish Coiuncil says it strongly objects because the solar farm would ‘destroy the view’ from nearby rights of way, which include the Ickneild Way long distance trail, because of the impact vehicles using the site would have on the ecology and because of the possible loss of historic remains that may be there. It also feels the loss of woodland as part of the habitat improvement for stone curlews would ‘alter the character and biodiversity of the area’ and

Owners of tenanted farms affected have also objected to the visual impact of the site.

Natural England is satisfied with the habitat mitigation while the RSPB and Suffolk Wildlife trust call for it to be done before the site is built.