Plans for a 750-acre solar farm in the Mendlesham, Wickham Skeith and Thwaite area of mid Suffolk have been met with concern from local councillors.

The site, by Elmya Energy UK Ltd, would produce 200MW of electricity and would cover an area equivalent to 425 football pitches.

But Mid Suffolk District Council has asked for more clarification from the developer, expressing concerns the plans lack detail.

East Anglian Daily Times:

Andrew Stringer, cabinet member for heritage, planning, and infrastructure, said: “Mid Suffolk will not have the final say on whether this application is approved. But on behalf of the communities we serve, we do want answers from the developer.

“For example, where would this solar farm connect to the grid, and what infrastructure would be required?

"The developer says they have a secured grid connection from 2031, but where? This is crucial detail. If it is relying on linking to the proposed new row of pylons between Norwich and Tilbury, this doesn’t even have government approval.”

The solar farm is considered a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project, meaning that while local councils will be consulted, it will be the Secretary of State at the Department of Energy and Net Zero who makes the final decision on approval.

The district council has repeated calls for the government to provide a clear national framework for the development of solar farms.

Mr Stringer added: “We do want to see local renewable energy production, which is essential for the country to meet its climate objectives. Our strong preference is ‘roof before rural’ - but national policy does not allow us to compel developers to put solar panels on the roofs of new homes.

“Where solar farms are proposed in the countryside, this must be balanced with protecting the best farmland for food production and our beautiful landscapes. We must also be mindful of the cumulative impact of energy developments on communities.”

Last November, Mid Suffolk District Council leader Andy Mellen said it was crucial a balance was struck between delivering renewable energy and protecting the countryside.

He said: “As a Green-led council we do want to see renewable local energy production, but what's the right amount? And what, perhaps more importantly, is the amount that our communities will accept?

"The National Policy Planning Framework guides our planning decisions, but currently does not adequately protect the best and most versatile farmland.”

No plans for the solar farm have yet been made public, but briefings of local stakeholders have begun.

Elmya Energy is expected to begin consultations this summer, with a view to submit a development consent order in summer 2026.