Solar farms are ugly. That won’t come as a shock to many.
But, as much as they try to downplay the landscape impact, even the developers know this. So to “mitigate” the impact many try to make much of the fabulous new hedgerows they will be planting.
However, in our experience these new hedgerows are typically planted with 40-60cm whips. And many developers seem to claim they will become 3m high hedges in 10-15 years time.
But, how long will they take to actually grow and screen a field of solar panels?
Well, whilst we have struggled to find evidence that backs up the developers claims, we have struggled to really find any evidence at all.
We’ve been sent these three examples:
Actually that’s pretty good evidence. Just not for the solar developer!
But, whilst it’s going to take a while, we are going to document the growth of a stretch of new hedgerow that was planted near us.
In 2018/19 the underground cables for the EA1 and EA3 offshore windfarms were being laid like spaghetti across the East Anglian countryside. Near the end of their journey they went under a road called Tye Lane in Bramford, Suffolk.
A beautiful old oak tree had to be removed to accommodate the direct drilling technique used to lay the cables under the road and adjacent ditch. And compensatory hedging was planted in it’s place. The whips were planted in 2020.
Aside from 2021 which we’ve missed, we will update this post with a new photo each year to track it’s growth.
April 2022 – 2 years after planting:
8th June 2023 – 3 years after planting: The weeds provide greater screening and several of the plants have died