A huge solar farm is set to be constructed in Habertoft.
At an ELDC planning meeting, councillors voted 9-0 (with two abstentions) in favour of allowing LarkEnergy to develop the project on 49 acres of agricultural land off Habertoft Lane.
Once completed, it will consist of no fewer than 40,744 south-facing panels, on land the size of 50 football pitches.
The committee heard a presentation from LarkEnergy’s development manager, Emma Rafaluk, on the merits of the scheme in supplying green energy. But Coun Alan Vassar was unimpressed, warning that rural tourism would be undermined and that land currently used for growing crops would be lost.
He went on to claim that solar panels contained toxic chemicals, such as chrome dioxide, which could leach into the environment, during the decommissioning stage.
The committee noted that Orby and Willoughby-with-Sloothby parish councils were opposed to the project, but ELDC’s case officer, Shaun Robson, was in favour on the grounds that “the need for renewable generating capacity weighs considerably in favour of the application”.
Natural England was invited to submit an assessment on the potential impact of any wildlife, but declined to do so. LarkEnergy’s own ecological appraisal claims that “direct impact on protected species is unlikely”.
The permission is conditional on an approved planting scheme to screen the site and on the outcome of a survey which will assess whether the site has any archaeological importance.