The former Maghaberry Airfield site is set to be given a new lease of life with the unveiling of plans for a proposed solar farm. The proposed development is set to produce enough energy to power 6440 households saving nearly 11 000 tonnes of carbon emissions each year.
Local Alliance councillor Amanda Grehan said “This is a tremendous opportunity for a much needed positive development in the area. For too long Northern Ireland has been left behind in the development of green energy sources. However, we now have the chance to learn from what has happened elsewhere, to deliver renewable energy supplies without any disruption to residents or wildlife.
“I particularly welcome the commitment from the developer, through their biodiversity management plan, to protect and encourage wildlife through the use of native plants in hedgerows, seed-rich areas, log piles as well as bird and bat boxes. The underground cabling and absorption of daylight by the panels means the overall landscape would be largely unaffected.”
Councillor Aaron McIntyre added “The protection of mature trees and ‘strong points’ of the former airfield will help maintain the current landscape and protect the heritage of the site for future generations. The solar farm is specially designed for grazing by small livestock including sheep and chickens. This will enable the land to be productive in the produce of food stuff as well as local renewable energy.”
Councillor Grehan concluded “This is a significant opportunity for the local area and there are no doubt further potential sites throughout Northern Ireland. It is important we proceed carefully but quickly with such projects.”