Work on a £120 million glasshouse project to reduce CO2 emissions and bring hundreds of jobs to West Suffolk has started near Bury St Edmunds.
West Suffolk Council through its Economic Growth Team and Planning Service has supported the scheme being built at Ingham.
The council has recently declared a Climate Change Emergency and set up a taskforce to help tackle the issue.
The glasshouse project is aimed at solving serious national issues of food security and agricultural reliance on fossil fuels. By developing a cost-effective solution, that reduces CO2 emissions in food supply chains.
Construction has started at the Ingham site on the “world first low carbon” development, which will be warmed using waste heat from the nearby Fornham Anglian Water recycling centre.
This was identified as a source of cheap energy due to the heat created by it which is piped to the glasshouse site.
All the rainwater from the roofs of the glasshouses will be stored to be used later.
The Ingham glasshouse will provide 135 jobs. It is one of two greenhouses being built by Greencoat Capital, with the other outside Norwich, and will be among the largest ever constructed in the country as each cover more than 13 hectares – larger than the 10-hectare O2 Arena.
The company, which is the UK’s biggest investor in renewable energy, believes they will be able to produce more than 20 tonnes of tomatoes every day, which would be 12 per cent of the tomatoes grown in the country.
John Griffiths, leader of West Suffolk Council, said: “West Suffolk Council is not only helping businesses invest in our area and create jobs but to be environmentally friendly and reduce our carbon footprint. This impressive glasshouse project once again puts West Suffolk at the forefront of finding new green ways to produce food while reducing use of fossil fuels. Our area has just been judged by Friends of the Earth as one of the top districts in the country for being green, but we can always do more. Our teams work closely with businesses, landowners and developers to help bring forward innovation and investment such as this.”
Susan Glossop, local member for Ingham and portfolio holder for growth at the council, said: “This is a real boost locally for jobs and skills as well as showing the creativity and vision we have in West Suffolk. It also highlights the opportunity available in our rural areas and the fact we have local people looking for innovative ways to take business forward.”
Landowner Frank Stennett said: “This technology is revolutionary and will lead the way for future glasshouse food production Think about it, this system and this technology will be more competitive than glasshouses heated by old methods. It will reduce the carbon footprint and cut the miles travelled to obtain our foodstuffs. I am very pleased we are part of helping create this and making sure this innovation comes to West Suffolk.”
Pictured above: (left to right) are John Griffiths, Frank Stennett, Susan Glossop, and David Collinson, assistant director for planning and regulatory services at West Suffolk Council.