Funding approved for solar carports

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Approval has been granted for funding to support solar carports in Babergh and Mid Suffolk.

The Cabinets of Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils have approved more than £600,000 for pilot solar carport schemes at two of their leisure centres.

The funding is in addition to £800,000 from HM Government’s Getting Building Fund, awarded by New Anglia LEP in 2020.

The infrastructure will be installed in the car parks at Kingfisher Leisure Centre in Sudbury, and Mid Suffolk Leisure Centre in Stowmarket, with works due to be completed by Spring 2022.

It will enable the councils to produce energy through solar panels to help run the leisure centres, as well as provide battery storage, and a number of electric vehicle charging points.

Cllr Jessica Fleming, Mid Suffolk District Council’s cabinet member for environment, said: “Approval of this project with match funding from Government reduces the carbon footprint around our leisure centres which are one of our highest emitters, and takes us closer to meeting our ambition of carbon neutrality. Using our own assets to generate electricity provides us with an opportunity to make best use of available space and to set an example for others to follow.

“Encouraging sustainable travel and improving air quality in the district will help to support a greener future and vision for our key towns.”

Cllr Elisabeth Malvisi, Babergh District Council’s cabinet member for environment, said: “The introduction of solar carport technology in Sudbury really demonstrates our forward-looking approach for our towns. We want to see them thrive, and lead the way when it comes to clean growth and tech – and this is one of the ways we’re doing just that.

“Suffolk, and Babergh, are a natural fit for solar, receiving more sun hours on average than the rest of the UK. I hope this project will help to ensure Babergh continues to be a place people are proud to live and work.”

A full planning application and procurement for a contractor to carry out the works is expected later this year.

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