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Residents raise solar farm fears

Birdlife was the main worry when plans for a Lidsey solar farm went on show.


The display, hosted in Aldingbourne by developer Solafields, attracted interest from at least 10 residents. Many were worried about protecting the breeding lapwing living on the proposed site.


Tim Edwards, who carries out wildlife studies in nearby fields, said: “There are concerns over some of the species such as lapwing which are on the site.


“They need to be together so if something attempts to take their young or eggs, they go up en masse and clear it out of the area.


“Studies show that, if their nest site is fragmented, they don’t breed as well.”


Lidsey Farm is the proposed site for the 10 megawatt farm, between the rail line and the A259 flyover. Solafields hopes to submit a planning application by autumn. Construction will take four to six months if the proposals are approved.


Cllr Isobel Thurston (G, Barnham) was among those at the exhibition. She said: “As part of our commitment to tackling climate change in Arun, we broadly welcome any local initiative aimed at renewable energy production. My only concern is with the bird populations that may be disturbed and we await further ecological information.”


Flooding was also an issue raised at the consultation by Colin and Helen Chewter.


Mr Chewter said: “We flood regularly and we are concerned about the use of the flood plane to develop this site. Aldingbourne Rife is always going to flood.


“The volume of water going down that rife is going to increase dramatically, particularly when they develop the extra 4,500 houses that they plan in that area.


“I’m not against the whole thing, it’s got to happen somewhere, it’s sustainable. But we want sufficient provisions to be made”.


A director of Solafields, Mark Candlish, said: “We are close to the end of our studies and we will come forward with proposals in the next few months.”

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