Grange Solar - PACE Community Portal
Introduction

Pathfinder Clean Energy (PACE) has brought forward a proposal for The Grange Farm Solar, on Land north of A143, Palgrave, Suffolk, IP22 1AZ.

Latest News: October Project Update


As you may know, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recently issued stark warnings of increasingly extreme heatwaves, droughts and flooding, and a key temperature limit being broken in just over a decade if urgent action isn’t taken. The Government has committed to a target of “net zero carbon emissions” and a transition away from fossil fuels for energy supply in little more than a decade. Suffolk has declared a climate emergency and committed to carbon neutrality by 2030, including complete decarbonisation of electricity.

Solar farms, such as that proposed near Palgrave, are a key response to these challenges and will form the backbone of the new zero carbon energy system.

This website contains details of our proposals, but in summary:

  • Grange Solar Farm will generate enough renewable energy to power the equivalent of about 16,000 homes a year.
  • Solar farms take up a very small proportion of the land they occupy, leaving huge scope for biodiversity enhancements. In fact, an assessment has demonstrated that proposed biodiversity measures will increase habitat by 82%, by creating new meadows, and increase hedgerows by over 10%.
  • No agricultural land will be lost and sheep can graze under and around the solar panels during operation.
  • Once operational, there will be almost no traffic. Construction traffic will be managed to minimise disturbance..
  • Solar panels are safe with no known health risks.
  • Public footpaths will remain open during construction and operation and trees and hedges will be planted to create a pleasant route that also provides a wildlife corridor.

Several sites were considered in the area. This site was selected as having few environmental constraints, including ecology, landscape and heritage.

The local topography and design of the solar farm means that while some of the fields are open and visible, there are large trees and matures hedges around the site, which will be retained, and new hedging planted to help screen the development. New hedging will also be created to create a green buffer and screen the development from public rights of way, Palgrave, Millway Lane and Lion Road.

The size of the site presents significant opportunities for biodiversity improvements, including creating new habitat for birds and insects. It will not be necessary to remove any trees or hedges and the land beneath the panels will be available for grazing livestock as well as biodiversity improvements.

Construction traffic will access the site from two points to the north and south of Lion Road. The short construction period means that any disturbance to residents will be kept to a minimum.

As a result, PACE believes the proposed development would be in keeping with the character of the area and would make a vital contribution to addressing the climate emergency.

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Who we are

Pathfinder Clean Energy brings together experience from the development, construction and operation of over 1GW of clean energy projects. This allows us to bring the latest best practices, technical solutions and innovation to our projects.

PACE is headquartered in the UK and is committed to a sustainable future. We are working to create low-carbon energy to the benefit of the environment and the community.

Our team includes ecologists, landscape and heritage specialists who help us to create environmentally friendly solar farms.

We would welcome suggestions from you as to how we can improve our project.

What will it be like and why do we need it?

Solar farms are becoming a common feature in the British landscape. They use photovoltaic (PV) panels to generate energy from daylight and distribute it to homes and businesses.

They are necessary because coal power stations are closing and climate change commitments require big increases in renewable energy.

Solar farms produce home grown energy which contributes to the UK becoming energy independent and reducing our reliance on imported fossil fuels. This is particularly important as demand for electricity for electric vehicles and heating grows.

No harmful greenhouse gas emissions are produced and the development will generate very little noise and will not be heard outside of the site.

At the end of its 40 year operational life, the development will be removed and the site completely restored.

What will it look like?

The proposed solar farm is located at Grange Farm, Land north of A143, Palgrave, Suffolk, IP22 1AZ . The settlement of Palgrave is to the east of the site.

The PV arrays will be ground mounted in south facing rows and will not exceed 3m in height.

Existing hedges and trees, and the local topography, means that while glimpses of the development will be possible from some homes, footpaths and roads, it will be generally well contained within the site.

Below is a selection of computer generated images prepared by PACE to illustrate what the solar farm will look like. Use the slider below to see a recent photograph before (left) and expected view after development (right). Once available, you can also download these in the downloads section.

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Use the sliders above to see pictures taken recently and how we expect them to look after the development is constructed and landscaping mitigation added.
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How will we access the site?

Once operational, solar farms generate almost no traffic. The construction period will last approximately 30-35 weeks.

The proposal is for construction traffic to approach the site from the A143, accessing Lion Road from the west so that construction traffic does not pass through Palgrave. Construction traffic will access the site using northern and southern existing field access points off Lion Road.

The development will be connected to the existing overhead 132kV line that passes through the site.

During construction, there may be some disturbance on some days. This won’t last long and our aim is to keep it to a minimum. Prior to development we will agree restrictions on working hours.

A management plan will be agreed with the Council in advance, which will include details of how you can contact us in the event of a problem.

What are the benefits?

Click the image to enlarge, or download a high-res version here.

Grange Farm solar will have the capacity to export 48 megawatts of clean, renewable energy which will power the equivalent of around 16,000 households each year.

Solar power has become one of the most cost effective energy sources available. Therefore, it will be built without public subsidies.

Solar farms take up a very small proportion of the land they occupy, leaving huge scope for biodiversity. Research has shown they improve the diversity and abundance of broad leaved plants, grasses, butterflies, bumblebees and birds, including those with conservation status. Details of the enhancements we will provide can be found in the graphic, and we would welcome your comments on this.

Agricultural land will not be lost. Small livestock, such as sheep, can graze under and around the solar panels during operation, providing the multiple benefits of agriculture, biodiversity improvements and energy generation. The reduction in intensive agriculture and chemical fertilisers should naturally improve the quality of the soils, leaving them in a better condition at the end of the life of the solar farm.

The rapid construction time provides faster access to renewable power and lowers the nation’s carbon footprint, without creating harmful emissions or noise outside of the solar farm.

What are the timescales?

Engaging with the community is important to us and we welcome your feedback on our proposals, along with any suggestions you might have to improve them. You can do this by filling out our survey here.

Following a review of the initial feedback, we have evolved our project plans and have now submitted a planning application to Mid Suffolk District Council.

It takes the council approximately 13 weeks for the Council to decide the application. If approved, further design and management details usually need to be agreed before we can start building, such as construction management and ecological management plans.

PACE will then construct the solar farm. Most deliveries are completed in the first six weeks of a construction period that usually lasts 30-35 weeks.

Further information / downloads

Below you can find links to some more detailed plans as they become available. You will be able to find all of our submission documents on the council's planning portal once we have submitted the application. The planning reference for the project will also be provided here.

You can view our planning application in full on the council’s website. The planning reference for this project is DC/22/02667.

The poster boards from our public event on 24th September 2021 can be found here.

We have commissioned a comprehensive set of surveys to help determine the site area and layout, so that impacts on residents can be minimised, and to identify opportunities for improving the proposals.

The surveys include:

Comment or contact us

We welcome you to take our short survey here. Alternatively you can email us at communityrelations@grangesolar.co.uk or give us a call on 0800 3777 348 and we can arrange for someone to call you back.

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