Renewable energy supplier, Good Energy has been granted provisional planning permission for a 49.9MW solar plant – the largest in the UK following the cannon of announcements for a 40MW and 41MW solar park in recent weeks.
The proposed 91.1-hectare site used to be an RAF airfield but has been disused for 20 years. The site is in West Raynham near Fakenham in Norfolk.
Provisional planning permission was granted yesterday and is still subject to scrutiny and procedure before full planning permission is granted from the committee of North Norfolk District Council.
The committee is planning a site inspection on 16 January. The proposed solar project is to be built on flat non-agricultural, former runway land owned by Raynham Estate.
The site is well screened from surroundings and Good Energy will build new wildlife habitats and plant wild flowers to attract animals, including endangered birds: the skylark and lapwing. New hedgerows will be planted and panels will be fitted with ample space for sheep to graze.
A public consultation was held in July, and Good Energy has continued to communicate with the community on the solar park's development. A funding package including a new playground, an RAF memorial, a woodland learning programme, and an annual £25,000 community grant, has been agreed to support the community.
As part of the planning permission agreement, Good Energy is also offering funding towards the repair of the nearby Grade II listed control tower.
The 49.9MW solar park could provide enough energy to supply 11,287 homes, generating 48,000MWh a year.
Good Energy CEO, Juliet Davenport said: “This site will not only help Norfolk achieve its renewable energy targets, but will also see benefits to local people via a community fund and to the surrounding environment with a bespoke ecological plan for the site which has been disused for almost 20 years.”
“It will also help Good Energy deliver its commitment to greater energy security and stability in the UK,” said Davenport.
If planning is approved construction could start in 2014 – generating electricity by the summer.