Renewable energy developer Innova has secured planning consent for three solar projects, amounting to 61.5MW, across East Suffolk, Essex and Scotland.
The solar projects are Bucklesham Solar Park (25MW) in East Suffolk, Parkgate Farm Solar Park (22.5MW) in Essex, and Parkhill South Solar Farm (14MW) in Scotland.
The Bucklesham Solar Park received planning consent on 28 November 2023. The project will increase biodiversity by 97.9% for habitat units and 446.31% for hedgerows.
Innova plans to launch a community fund under its Community Promise. This fund will benefit Bucklesham residents with approximately £6,250 per year, in addition to a £2,500 charitable donation over the project’s 40-year life span.
The second solar farm to gain planning permission was the Parkgate Farm Solar Park on 15 December 2023, following an appeal hearing on 12 December.
According to Innova, the Braintree District Council could not progress and determine the planning application within the extended timeframes. Thus, after 18 months, the developer had to submit an appeal to the Planning Inspectorate against the non-determination of the application.
Following this, the Council declared it had refused the farm due to “concerns around heritage and landscape impact”.
The appointed inspector agreed with Innova’s submission, which detailed that the “landscape and visual impact are contained to the site and its immediate local landscape” as well as that the limited impact on the setting of the listed building was “outweighed by the public benefits of generating renewable energy”.
A c.£5,000 per year community fund is also expected to be developed as part of the project.
Innova’s final project to be awarded planning approval was the Parkhill South Solar Farm which is located 4.5km north of Arbroath and 1km east of Letham Grange. The project is Innova’s first to be approved in Scotland and will see a biodiversity net gain of 89% for habitats and 202% for hedgerows.
Ryan Adams, managing director at Innova Renewables Developments, said: “To have received planning consent for a further three solar sites in such quick succession to our superscale Blackdyke and Heysham energy storage projects is a fantastic outcome for Innova – and testament to the dedication and hard work of everyone in the business who has brought them over the line.
“Together, the Bucklesham, Parkgate, and Parkhill solar developments will not only make a considerable contribution towards local and national net zero goals, but will promote biodiversity, enable local businesses to make the switch to renewable energy, and provide community funding that can be integrated into local initiatives.”