ENSO Energy Solar Power Plant Information Leaflet…
CARE Suffolk is a group of residents – spanning villages of Flowton, Burstall, Bramford Tye, Bramford, Somersham, and Elmsett – who all care about this local rural environment and lifestyle.
They believe that by keeping the countryside as countryside, and by maintaining the tranquil and beautiful public walks that surround these villages, that we can all enjoy the physical and mental health benefits that come with being in such a special and valuable landscape area.
Enso Energy, through its subsidiary Bramford Green Ltd (sounds lovely doesn’t it) are proposing to develop a 98 hectare solar “farm” and battery storage facility on high quality arable land in Somersham, Flowton, and Burstall for 40 years that will export 49.9MW of electricity per year.
The current proposals will:
– Dominate the landscape with 10ft high panels and anti-deer fencing.
– Turn open rural footpaths into corridors inside an industrial facility.
– Litter the countryside with large shipping containers.
– Turn tranquil countryside into a constant “hum”.
– Displace existing wildlife, such as deer, bats, and protected birds.
– Bring 70+ vehicles per day *onto these narrow country roads during 26+ weeks of construction and also decommissioning.
– Take 444 acres of high quality food-producing arable greenfield land out of production for 35-40 years minimum, maybe forever.
– Not use sheep for grazing, nor cover the fields in wildflowers.
– Export all generated electricity out of Suffolk.
– Not reduce Suffolk’s carbon footprint
Climate Emergency & Suffolk
In 2019 Babergh & Mid Suffolk made a joint Climate Emergency declaration, with the rest of Suffolk. And made a commitment for Suffolk to be carbon neutral by 2030.
Enso Energy claim that their development “will assist Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils to urgently reduce greenhouse gas emissions” and “contribute towards the security of energy supply in Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils through the provision of significant amounts of local, competitive renewable energy” by providing electricity for 13,000 homes.
However, what Enso Energy aren’t advertising in their brochure is that the development will connect into the transmission lines of the National Grid, where it will be exported to the rest of the UK. It WILL NOT be supplying Suffolk with any electricity at all, and it WILL NOT reduce any emissions in Babergh & Mid Suffolk.
In context, two offshore windfarms currently in operation off the Suffolk coast are the Galloper Wind Farm which produces 353MW for 380,000 homes, and the Greater Gabbard Offshore Wind Farm which produces 500MW for 530,000 homes. The East Anglia ONE Offshore Wind Farm currently in construction will produce 714MW for 630,000 homes. East Anglia THREE Offshore Wind Farm has been approved and will produce 1400MW for over 1million homes. East Anglia TWO Offshore Wind Farm currently under planning consultation will produce 900MW for 900,000 homes. East Anglia ONE NORTH Offshore Wind Farm also in planning consultation will produce 800MW for 659,000 homes. Sizewell B produces electricity for 2.2million homes. Sizewell C if approved would provide electricity for over 6million homes. These are all renewable and low carbon energy sources, to potentially supply 12.3million homes.
Suffolk has just over 346,000 household properties.
At present, the National Grid has no capacity to use the electricity generated by the Enso Energy scheme. There is no need at this location for more power generation as the off shore wind developments, which provide substantially better reliability and generation, will take up this capacity. Adding Enso Energy and/or EDF Renewables) at this location limits the benefits of the off shore wind.
The proposed site area would cover 242 acres of high quality arable farm land. 82.1% of the area is classified at “best most versatile agricultural land”, also known as prime agricultural land. There is then 13.1% of not quite as high quality, but still arable land capable of producing food, and 4.5% of non-agricultural land. A further 10 acres will be disrupted during construction while cables are laid.
The current traditional crop rotation and good farming practices used on the proposed land were actually introduced back in the 1700s because they improved the soil, and therefore the crop yield. Even the developers own soil survey shows that it is high quality soil. The “intensive agriculture” they mention is not the same as the traditional methods used on this land, which has helped the soil maintain its high quality over the years.
The developer claims that the soils need to rest. So that it can rest from growing plants they propose to… grow another plant. Even more curiously they plan to replace the usual wheat and barley, both a type of grass, with… another type of grass. But grass is not a “resting” plant, because it doesn’t grow and then stop. It continues to grow, therefore needing cutting. Soil likes to grow plants. It is what it does and it isn’t familiar with the human concept of rest.
To convert such a large area of prime arable land over to such a small amount of solar power production would be a wasteful use of the land for a minimum of 40 years. Especially as climate change is reducing crop yields globally. To improve our environment and climate there is a need to reduce the carbon miles our food travels and improve our food security as the global population continues to increase.
There is much more to read about on their website:
Enso Energy have submitted their planning application to Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils and it is currently open for public comment.
There are two application references because it crosses district boundaries.
Mid Suffolk is DC/20/05895
Babergh is DC/21/00061
To submit your objection you click on the above links and head to the Comments tab, and then Make a Comment. Please note you will need to login or create an account to do so.
Alternatively you can send your objection to firstname.lastname@example.org. You will need to include the reference numbers above in the subject line, along with your full name and address in your email.
The DEADLINE for public comments is 20th February 2021.