Plans to develop a solar farm in Barkham have been given the green light.
The plans, approved by Wokingham Borough Council, will see 67,340 solar panels installed on farmland to the north and south of Barkham Ride generating enough renewable energy to power thousands of local houses as well as reducing carbon emissions.
The approved proposals include the planting of nearly 11,000 new trees on the site, wider landscaping to improve biodiversity and the creation of a new Greenway to better link Arborfield, Barkham and Finchampstead to the existing network of public rights of way to the north.
The planning committee added a request that the council explore the opportunity for the current tenant farmer onsite to continue with shared use of the land for livestock grazing.
“This solar farm is a major part of our plans to help tackle the climate emergency and we’ve put a lot of time and thought into getting it right,” said Cllr Gregor Murray, executive member for resident services, communications and emissions. “The panels will generate around 29.63MWp per year, which is a massive amount and roughly the same as offsetting the carbon footprint from all our council properties combined.
“I am also pleased that we’ll be exploring the option of allowing continued grazing on the site. If that is practical for all concerned, it would be a great outcome.”
The council will start the process of procuring a contractor to install the panels. Work is not expected to start before late spring or early summer next year.