EDF Renewables
Solar Power Plant

A 202 acre industrial site of glass and metal instead of a rural food producing landscape

EDF Renewables are proposing to develop an 65 82 hectare solar “farm” on arable land along Tye Lane, Bramford (yes that’s as well as the Enso Energy one) for 35 years that will export 49.9MW of electricity per year.
They “claim” that it will:

Supply 9,690 family homes per year

49.9MW is the equivalent of 437,124,000kWh per year. But the sun doesn’t shine all the time, so solar plants only generate electricity roughly 10% of the entire year, so that’s 43,712,400kWh. EDF have used a figure of 4751kWh per house in the Mid-Suffolk District (the source of this is not named and is so far elusive in searches) and 10.5% to get to their 9,690 homes. However if the government want us to all switch over to electric cars (the 40 year life of the solar plant would see the ban of petrol & diesel come into force) then it’ll be closer to only 6,500 homes that it will be supplying electricity to.

Displace 16,700 tonnes of CO2 per year

The solar plant will connect into Bramford Substation, which is already a low carbon substation by serving nuclear and offshore wind plants, and which over their full life emit less CO2 per kWh than solar anyway. It is not replacing any coal or gas plants. So it’s unclear what CO2 emissions they’ll actually be displacing. Solar also takes up significantly more land space, removing arable land from UK production and increasing the need for more food imports (and the CO2 to transport it here).

Provide a £175,000 – £350,000 Community Fund

That’s quite a wide ranging figure, and it’s dependant on the final size of the project. But here’s the thing, it’s paid as £5,000 – £10,000 annually over the 35 year life of the project. EDF stated in a public webinar that this would be index-linked which is good (i.e. it would go up with inflation), but how it is actually distributed to the local communities has yet to be disclosed by EDF. What is the cost of losing 82ha of arable land and green space to the local community?

We’re not saying no to solar… we’re saying no to solar on food producing farmland

Did you know that 82 hectares of arable land is…

202 acres or 820,000 square metres?

Or 107 Ipswich Town football pitches?

Or 3144 Wimbledon Doubles Tennis Courts?

Or 729,800 one kilo bags of wholemeal flour per year?

Or maybe 6,765,555 pints of beer per year?

That’s an alarming amount considering the UK is only 61% self-sufficient for food,
but produced 42% more electricity than at peak demand in 2019.

Let’s take a look at the proposal in a bit more detail…

Agricultural Land

The proposed site area would cover 202 acres of arable farm land. The updated grade of the fields are currently unknown because EDF Renewables hasn’t made their soil analysis available yet. However, using the Mid-Suffolk Interactive Map it shows the entire site area to be of Grade 2 classification. Also known as “best and most versatile” agricultural land, i.e. the good stuff.

Local residents who travel Tye Lane will know that the fields alternate between wheat, barley, oilseed rape, and occasionally sugar beet. All important sources of basic food, and essential to reduce the UK’s dependence on food imports and the CO2 emissions of the transport to bring it here. The sugar beet pulp is even used by British Sugar to generate electricity after they’ve extracted the sugar.

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 35 years. To improve our environment there is a need to reduce the carbon miles our food travels and improve our food security as the global population continues to increase.


Landscape

The proposed site is nestled between the village of Bramford and the hamlet of Bramford Tye. Both of which are surrounded by a designated Special Landscape Area (SLA), highlighted in green below. The site is in red.

The landscape of this area to the west of the B1113 is predominantly that of undulating wide-open arable landscape. Where the hedges part in various places along the road you can see for miles (this is also useful for road users). And some of the views are breath taking.

Along the top of the site boundary line in the middle there is a small dip in the shape of the site. This is home to a family run campsite, which is visited from by people all over the UK who cherish these views. It would be surrounded on all sides but the road, by an industrial facility of glass and metal.

This photo below for example is taken opposite the Anglian Water facility at the top of the hill on Tye Lane. It looks across the biggest field in the proposed site towards the NE. As you can see, it goes on for a rather long way, with the SLA in the distance.

Whilst the developer has proposed to line the entire roadside length of the site with hedgerows, this seems such a beautiful sight to lose with the farmland, along with that of the SLA in the distance.


How can I help protect all of this?

Right now this proposal is at a pre-planning stage. EDF Renewables are conducting a public consultation until 27th November 2020. However they’ve released incredibly little in terms of information, so we’re not entirely sure how they can consult with the public without actually providing much to consult on.

You can watch the replays of the two EDF webinar Q&A sessions on the EDF website, just click the “Register” button and it will take you to the replay, as well as watch their virtual exhibition.

You can also follow us on our Facebook page to find out when the Full Application for Planning is made and how to lodge your concerns with the Planning Officer when the time comes.

If you have any additional information or would like to help in another way you can contact us through our Contact Page, or email: team@caresuffolk.org.

There is currently no documentation available via the BMSDC Planning Portal because EDF have not formally submitted anything for review.

Thank you for reading this and supporting us!