A £120m project will see two of the country’s largest greenhouses constructed in the region, warmed by waste heat from water treatment facilities.
The greenhouses, covering 29 hectares, will produce one tenth of the UK’s tomatoes.
They will be warmed via heat pumps using waste heat from water recycling centres, displacing the conventional gas heating of commercial greenhouses.
The construction of the greenhouses – one near Norwich and one near Bury St Edmunds – will begin immediately with completion expected in autumn 2020.
Commercial-scale growers from the UK and the Netherlands have already committed to leasing the space.
The greenhouses will provide ideal growing conditions for a range of plants and vegetables requiring a high-heat, and relatively low-light environments such as tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers.
Once operational, the greenhouses will be capable of producing more than 1 in 10 of the country’s tomatoes, and will create 360 permanent new jobs.
Chris Starkie, chief executive of New Anglia LEP, said: “The announcement of 360 permanent new jobs in the local area and seasonal work for another 120 is very welcome news. Norfolk and Suffolk is at the leading edge of innovation in agri-tech and clean growth and these pioneering greenhouses are a win-win because as well as providing employment, they will reduce our carbon footprint and make us more self-sufficient.
“The potential for our agri-food sector is vast. We lead the UK in agriculture and food, employing 80,000 people, and investment in research and development here has grown by 50% since 2007.
Norfolk & Suffolk Unlimited – our newly-launched brand – positions us as the clean growth region, and this development will send out a message to other agri-food companies that this is the place to invest.”