Oving solar farm approved by councillors

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A new solar farm is now set to be created in sunny Sussex following approval from Chichester district councillors.

The scheme, approved on Wednesday, April 27, will involve the erection of 58 rows of photovoltaic panels, each up to 2.7m high, on land at Woodhorn Farm, Oving, facing south at an angle, to maximise exposure to the sun.

The district’s southern area development control committee heard the project, proposed by Vogt Solar Ltd – which has seven solar farms in Germany – would produce clean renewable energy for the equivalent of more than 1,200 homes annually.

The site would remain in agricultural production through the grazing of sheep and farming of the non-panelled areas.

The scheme was supported by both Tangmere and Oving parish councils, and the RSPB said proposed improvements to hedgerows had the potential to benefit farmland birds.

A submission by the applicants said the site comprised 17.9 hectares of arable farmland, forming part of Woodhorn Farm, a 607-hectare mixed organic farm supporting 250 milking cows and employing 23 people.

There would be a social benefit from the use of the solar farm, and conservation work, in farmer John Pitts’ educational tours of his farming business.

Recommending approval, planning officers said although the scheme in itself did not directly result in an increase in local jobs, the income from it could be used to support the farm as a whole.