Village rallies against solar farm next to gas plant

A new solar farm could be built between Swainsthorpe and Mulbarton. Picture: James Bass

File photo of a solar farm. Shell wants to build something similar on a field next to the Bacton Gas Plant - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2014

People living near the Bacton Gas Terminal have rallied against plans by energy giant Shell to install solar panels on a field. 

Objectors to the plan for Seagull's Field off Bacton Road say covering the area with panels would mean the loss of a valuable wildlife habit and a natural 'buffer' between the plant and the village. 

Around 200 people have already signed a petition against the plan and around 20 objections have been lodged with North Norfolk District Council.

Bacton showing Seagull's Field in red between the gas

Bacton showing Seagull's Field in red between the gas plant and the north of the village. Shell wants to build solar panels on the field. - Credit: Google maps

But Shell says the plans are "small, but important" and will help the terminal become self-sufficient. 

The petition, started by Ellie Walker, says: "If Shell's plan is approved Bacton will lose a valuable habitat for wildlife including flowers, insects, butterflies, bees, birds and other animals who live in the meadow.

"This meadow was promised to the community of Bacton as a 'buffer' zone for the gas terminal, it is unfair and unreasonable for Shell to go back on their word to the community of Bacton."

Stating their objections to the district council, Bacton and Edingthorpe Parish Council said it would be "extremely disappointing" if the field was covered in solar panels. 

A worker making checks on the UK - Continent Gas Interconnector at Bacton Terminal

File photo of workers at the Bacton Gas Terminal. - Credit: Archant

The council said: "Seagull's field is a stunning location and gives superb views over towards the sea.
"During the summer and spring it is filled with wildlife, flora and fauna and wildlife.

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"The area is a fundamental and natural barrier and buffer zone between the gas terminal and the community and it would be detrimental to the coastal path and residents if this area of open land was lost."

Wendy Fredericks, NNDC ward councillor for Mundesley, has asked for the application to be 'called in' to the development committee for discussion.

Wendy Fredericks, Liberal Democrat candidate for Mundesley in the 2019 North Norfolk District Counci

North Norfolk district councillor Wendy Fredricks has asked for the plans to be 'called in'. - Credit: Supplied by Wendy Fredericks

A spokesperson from Shell said a formal consultation would take place. 

He said: "Our plans would be a small but important step to help self-generate electricity for the terminal directly from a renewable energy supply.

"We understand that people may have concerns which is why we have been talking to our neighbours to address any concerns and questions people may have, and to explain why we believe it is critical to help transition the terminal."