From the outset, both Great Glemham Farms and AGR wanted to ensure that the project would deliver maximum possible biodiversity and environmental benefits, alongside the sizable contribution of renewable energy generation.
As part of the development, a wild flower sward was planned to increase natural habitat for local species, as was a program of native species hedgerow planting, complementing the already existing environmental strategy of the farms. During its operational life the site will be grazed by the farms’ award winning flock of lamb, keeping the land part of the agricultural productivity of the farms.
The solar farm in Glemham will contribute approximately 17,650 MWh of electricity into the local network each year. In terms of households, this equates to the amount of energy required to supply approximately 4,150 local homes.
Running through the middle of the site, on the footprint of the former runway, is a strip of protected Natural England Higher Level Stewardship habitat, splitting the eastern and western fields. Great Glemham Farms entered into the Natural England Higher Level Stewardship scheme in 2010, to complement the environmental and conservation projects the farms already undertake, which have focused on the creation of a network of field edge, woodland, pasture and scrub environments – with monitoring by Suffolk Wildlife Trust and RSPB confirming that local, and in some cases, nationally important bird populations utilise the habitats of the farms, with over 90 confirmed species recordings to date.
Great Glemham Farms is a Farm Partnership covering 975 acres of arable, pasture, scrub thicket and woodland environments. The farm has also been a regional finalist in RSPB Farming for Nature Award and won the Suffolk Agricultural Awards 2010 Special Award for Conservation.