A farm in BARKHAM could be in for a massive change if plans go ahead to convert it into a solar farm.

Wokingham Borough Council has submitted plans to transform Barkham Farms into a solar energy farm which it hopes will serve over 7,000 homes and businesses.

The farmland, off Barkham Ride, located between Barkham, Finchampstead and Arborfield Garrison is currently being used by a tenant farmer for crops and cattle farming.

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The land stretches over 52 hectares.

But the council would like to convert the land into the solar farm with approximately 72,000 solar panels in an effort to generate renewable energy.

The council hopes that the farm will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by a whopping 94,000 tonnes while it is in operation.

The plans also include planting over 15,000 new trees on the farmland, associated landscaping, and the formation of a new route for walkers, cyclists and horseriders.

The tenant farmer who currently uses the land would continue with some of his businesses on site, however, the council has not been specified what this activity would be.

Additionally, the council has said the land’s use as a solar farm may only be temporary, with a ‘consent period’ of 25 years.

Now members of the public can observe and comment on the plan on the Wokingham Borough Council website.

Rhian Hayes, interim assistant director for housing and place at Wokingham Borough Council has hailed the scheme as a key facet of the council’s plans to reduce carbon emissions and invest in renewable energy.

Interim Assisant Director Hayes said: "Submitting these plans is a major milestone on our journey towards a net carbon zero Wokingham.

"Generating renewable solar power in the borough not only contributes towards reducing carbon emissions needed to power local homes but also demonstrates that we are committed to seeing this happen and to creating a better future for all.

"There was strong support for renewable energy when we shared the proposals at the start of the year.

"Many resident’s telling us about how important tackling the climate emergency is to them and how much more they feel still needs to be done.

"There were also questions about why we didn’t install solar panels on building roofs, rather than on farms like this, and that’s something we are already doing across many of the buildings we own.

"However that’s a drop in the ocean of the reductions we need to make which is why solar projects like this are so important to help combat climate change."

Interim Assistant Director Hayes continued by singing the praises of generating energy locally within the borough.

She added: "It’s also great that we can generate energy locally as, because of the way our National Grid works, residents and businesses receive energy from their nearest electricity sub-station which comes from the nearest generation source.

"Because of this, even if they don’t sign up for ‘green energy’ electricity tariffs, residents living close to the solar farm will still benefit from the energy generated here."

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Residents in the borough have until Friday, May 7, to submit their comments about the plan.

You can do this by going to Wokingham Borough Council’s website www.wokingham.gov.uk and searching for planning application number 211081.

The plans for transforming Barkham Farms into a solar farm are predicted to be considered by the Planning Committee later this year.