Proposed solar farm near Billericay could power 11,000 homes

Plans have been launched for a new solar farm the size of 38 football pitches in Billericay.

A planning application for a renewable power station which could power 11,000 homes in Crays Hall Farm, was validated by Basildon Borough Council on March 1.

Applicant Boom Power Ltd says the solar farm would create enough renewable energy for approximately 11,000 family homes a year.

It would also displace 15,650 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year, the equivalent of having 5,000 fewer cars on the road, according to a statement of community involvement.

A planning statement for the application says the farm would operate for 40 years, then the land would be returned to its original use after decommissioning.

A section reads: “The proposal would provide a clean, renewable and sustainable form of electricity and it would make a valuable contribution to the generation of electricity at a local level.

“The scheme would make a meaningful contribution to the council’s 2030 carbon-neutral target and it would also assist in meeting national targets.

“In addition, the proposal would make a valuable contribution to offsetting greenhouse gas emissions and help tackle climate change.”

According to the statement, it is expected the farm would take six months to set up and six months to decommission.

The application is seeking permission for ground mounted photovoltaic solar arrays, with a power output of 25.6 megawatts.

These would have a maximum height of 2.8 metres, according to the statement.

Also sought by the application is permission for a substation, transformer stations, internal and external access, security measures and landscaping.

A public consultation and stakeholder engagement has been conducted by the applicant, according to the statement of community engagement.

The scheme would be accompanied by a 37 per cent net gain in biodiversity and habitats, the planning statement claims.

Crays Hall Farm, 1km to the east of Billericay, is currently used for agriculture and is 700 metres from the nearest residential area.

According to the statement, the site is located in the London area greenbelt.

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Charlie Ridler

Local Democracy Reporter