EDF Renewables submits planning application for a solar farm at Bloy’s Grove between Swainsthorpe and Mulbarton
As World leaders gather in Glasgow for COP26 to agree further action to tackle climate change, EDF Renewables is submitting a planning application to install a 49.9 MW solar farm – Bloy’s Grove - between the villages of Swainsthorpe and Mulbarton, just south of Norwich, which will be capable of generating enough low carbon electricity for the average needs of 14,600 South Norfolk households* annually.
It comes after the project team received valuable feedback from local stakeholders and residents during an extended 10-week public consultation period which came to an end on the 11th January. EDF Renewables has also carried out environmental impact assessments and taking these and the feedback received into account has now refined its plans and submitted a planning application to South Norfolk Council. The council will now consider the application and carry out their own public consultation on EDF Renewables’ plans, before reaching a decision.
Amongst growing concern about climate change, which was clear in the consultation responses we received, the 49.9MW Bloy’s Grove project could contribute to saving around 14,000 tonnes** of carbon dioxide emissions each year. The project will also deliver significant additional local benefits. If planning permission is granted, a community fund of £20,000 will be paid annually for the 35-year lifetime of the project, double the sum proposed during the consultation period.
EDF Renewables has listened to the feedback received and has reduced the number of panel rows in the north-east of the site to reduce visual impact on nearby residents. The company will also improve biodiversity on site, such as planting trees, hedges, and wildflower and grass meadow throughout the site. EDF Renewables has now also pledged to plant an orchard on the edge of the site and will organise community harvesting days.
Darren Cuming, Planning and Consent Manager at EDF Renewables, said: “We are grateful for the feedback we received during the consultation, and are pleased to have been able to accommodate many excellent suggestions made to us in this final planning application, and mitigate some of the concerns held.
“What came through strongly is that people recognise that action is needed to tackle the climate and ecological emergencies, with considerable interest in our pledge to improve biodiversity on site over the lifetime of the project.
“Our engagement showed that people generally accept that solar is part of the solution but want projects to be sensitively developed. EDF Renewables is an experienced developer, and we are firmly committed to solar as a technology which will help us accelerate a net zero future where clean energy powers all our lives.”
NOTE TO EDITORS
About EDF Renewables
With our operating portfolio of 37 wind farms we are providing some of the much needed new affordable, low carbon electricity to the UK and Ireland across four technologies (onshore and offshore wind, solar and battery storage). We have an expanding renewables portfolio with almost 5GW of projects in planning and development and 600 MW currently under construction. We have offices in Edinburgh, Rainton Bridge (near Durham), London and Dublin.
EDF Renewables is part of EDF Group which, as part of its CAP 2030 strategy, aims to double EDF’s renewable energy production from 28 GW to 60 GW.
EDF Renewables is currently developing a number of other solar farm projects in the East of England; Sutton Bridge near Spalding in Lincolnshire, Tye Lane near Bramford in Mid Suffolk, Longfield near Chelmsford in Essex (a joint venture with Padero), and Burwell, a consented project in South East Cambridgeshire acquired from AGR.
The Bloy’s Grove development will consist of rows of solar panels mounted on metal frames, no more than 3 m above the ground, contained within an 81-hectare site. The application also consists of associated access tracks, inverter/transformer units, substation, spare part containers, boundary fencing with inward facing CCTV and ancillary infrastructure.
The site entrance during construction will be off Church Road to the north of the site, with construction traffic using a temporary access track from here to the edge of the site. After construction, operations traffic will use entrances off Brick Kiln Lane. Connection to the grid will be made at Norwich substation, some 1.7 km north of the site. A Traffic Management Plan will be agreed with the local authority to sensitively manage any traffic impacts along this route.
Further project updates can be found on the Bloy’s Grove website.
* Department for Business, Enterprise and Industrial Strategy (DBEIS), 2020a, Sub-National Electricity Consumption Statistics.
** Department for Business, Enterprise and Industrial Strategy (DBEIS), 2020b, UK Government GHG Conversion Factors for Company Reporting.
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