Driffield News

Positive feedback for energy company’s solar farm plans

The team hoping to build one of Yorkshire’s biggest solar farms have visited Driffield to show their plans to residents.

Consultants from Elgin Energy arrived in the town from Northern Ireland to chat to local people about the scheme which would power up to 12,000 homes.

They held a consultation event at Driffield Community Centre in Mill Street on Thursday 23rd June with information boards and surveys to be completed to help the team gather public feedback before a planning application for the site at Sunderlandwick.

I think there is an understanding in these uncertain times that if we are to hit the net-zero carbon targets, renewable energy has to be embraced.

jack o’KEEFFE

Paul McKernan, technical director at RPS, which is working with Elgin Energy to deliver the scheme, told the Wolds Weekly: “In general, the feedback seems to be positive.

“Most people are either supportive or very supportive.

“Some people have asked questions about the potential impact on bridleways and walkways and the ecology of the area, but we have answered them and explained about the surveys we will be doing.

“One of people’s other issues is the traffic, but there will be no over-sized lorries and it will be reasonably short-term.

Jack O’Keeffe is the project manager for the proposed Sunderlandwick solar farm, which would see hundreds of solar panels installed on 75 acres of agricultural land.

“Elgin likes to do things right. There was no requirement for them to do this sort of consultation prior to the planning process, but they always take this approach. Hopefully it eases any concerns.

“To date, we have been very well received and it is very much appreciated. The engagement from the community has been very constructive.”

The Wolds Weekly revealed that the proposal to build the solar farm on 75 hectares of land off the A164 and alongside the Hull to Driffield railway line would be one of the largest in the country.

It would be able to convert sunlight into around 49.9 megawatts of electricity, which could power 12,000 homes or 16,500 electric vehicles.

The company claimed solar farms are ‘clean, quiet and visually unobtrusive’ and could be installed in around 16 weeks.

Jack O’Keeffe, project manager for Elgin Energy, said there was no timescale yet for when the solar farm would be ready, but he expected the planning process to possibly begin in the next month.

He added: “I think there is an understanding in these uncertain times that if we are to hit the net-zero carbon targets, renewable energy has to be embraced.

“Solar farms do not have a lot of construction work compared to wind.

“They are easily deployable and can be well screened, so you might not see them when you are driving past.”

Among the first to take a look at the information on display were George and Rita Riggs from The Bell Hotel in Driffield.

They said: “It’s a very good idea, we are certainly for it.

“It’s a no-brainer as far as we are concerned and we can’t see why people wouldn’t support it. The sooner the better.”

A website has been set up for people to continue to give their views on the proposal.

Visit sunderlandwicksolarfarm.co.uk.

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