CARE Suffolk welcomes the biodiversity action plan adopted by Babergh and Mid Suffolk Councils, reported in December’s In Touch. CARE Suffolk (Community Alliance for a Rural Environment) is a new group of residents of the villages of Flowton, Burstall, Tye, Bramford, Somersham and Elmsett, all of whom care about the rural environment and lifestyle.
We believe that, by keeping the countryside as countryside, and by maintaining the tranquil and beautiful public walks that surround our villages, we can all enjoy the physical and mental health benefits that come with being in such a special and valuable landscape area.
CARE Suffolk will be campaigning to promote social and recreational activities and facilities in these villages, with the goal of organising educational activities that teach about wildlife, farming and conservation in the area, and to protect the rural environment and landscape from unsuitable developments that would significantly impact those goals.
Two such developments have recently been proposed. ENSO Energy and EDF each want to build huge solar installations on what is currently high-quality arable farmland between Somersham, Flowton, Burstall and Bramford. They would cover nearly 450 acres and be highly visible, with 10ft high panels surrounded by anti-deer fencing. They would also have a serious impact on the wildlife and plant life of the area, displacing some and destroying others.
Both companies say that they would mitigate the impact of their plans by planting wildflower grassland, new hedgerows and scrub, thus enhancing biodiversity. However, we believe that anything they propose is already happening through the DEFRA Countryside Stewardship Scheme – under which some of the affected land is currently farmed – or through cooperation with the local councils under the new biodiversity plan, as well as through the decades of dedication and good practice that the farmers have put into caring for the land and soil. Leaving the land as it is would still allow it to produce hundreds of tons of valuable food crops every year, crucial to a country that imports 45% of the food we consume.
If you would like to know more about CARE Suffolk and its work, our website and Facebook page give lots of information about what we do and how to get involved.