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 tom.martin@champnews.com
Friday, 13 June 2014 (3053196)
Field of solar panelsto power 6,000 homes
by Tom Martin


A RENEWABLE energy firm wants to build a 103 acre solar panel site in Ince Blundell that will help power more than 6,000 homes.

British company Hive Energy has submitted plans for the ‘solar park' which will be placed at Orrell Hill, next to the A565, which is predicted to save around 8,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions every year.

But first a consultation period has been launched and the firm want to hear from local residents from both Ince Blundell and nearby Hightown with a public exhibition of the proposals set to take place between 2pm-7pm today (Wednesday, June 18) at Ince Blundell Village Hall.

Hive Energy has moved to reduce any fears the plans will affect wildlife and officials claim the sheep that currently live on the Orrell Hill site can continue to graze underneath the solar panels.

And although the actual site will take up 103 acres of land, the actual panels will only occupy around 30% of the area.

There are also designs in place for it to be well hidden in the landscape, and the panels would be well screened from view by existing or new hedgerows or trees.

Solar panels absorb rather than reflect sunlight and are used as energy sources to help reduce the UK’s reliance on foreign imports that lead to high costs of energy bills.

If the plans are approved, the construction of a solar park this size would typically take no longer than two to three month.

The managing director of Hive Energy, Hugh Brennan, said: “When we’re creating a solar park, it’s really important for us to strike a balance between creating energy, and local people, wildlife and agriculture.

”Before we brought the site at Orrell Hill forward, we carefully evaluated it. Our consultation is now an opportunity for us to listen to what people living locally have to say.

“If approved, the site would include a host of features to help incorporate it into the landscape, to encourage biodiversity, and to create outdoor learning areas and other facilities for people to benefit from. As part of us being a good neighbour, we also want to hear ideas for deserving projects in the local community we could financially support.”

Hive Energy is seeking people’s feedback between now and 2 July 2014. Anyone who are not able to attend the consultation event today and who have queries regarding the proposals can get in touch with Hive Energy by email: info@hiveenergy.co.uk or call: 08000 191719.






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