Police warn King Charles that his planned 2,000-panel solar farm in Norfolk to generate electricity for Sandri – Daily Mail

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Eco-warrior King Charles III has been warned by police that thieves could steal panels from his planned solar farm at his Royal Sandringham estate unless he puts in security measures in place. 

Plans have been lodged for around 2,000 solar panels to be installed on horse grazing paddocks to provide zero-carbon energy for the estate in Norfolk.

According to planning documents lodged with King’s Lynn and West Norfolk District Council, the solar farm has been designed to ‘meet current and predicted future electricity demands of the Sandringham Estate’.

The solar panels, which will be placed across 2.3 hectares of land, will provide a combined total of 2.1MW of energy, which will be used by the estate and a small amount of additional capacity will also be exported to the electricity grid.

However, Norfolk Police have highlighted that there is a lack of security at the planned development which could invite thieves to steal the solar panels. 

The monarch had earlier applied for planning permission to install around 2,000 solar panels on horse grazing paddocks to provide zero-carbon energy for the 20,000 acre estate

Plans lodged with King's Lynn and West Norfolk Council said the solar farm has been designed to 'meet current and predicted future electricity demands of the Sandringham Estate'

In a consultation response on the plans seen by MailOnline, Steve Gower, a Designing Out Crime Officer at Norfolk Constabulary warned: ‘The rate of thefts from such facilities has been increasing in recent years. 

‘The combination of the rise in the value of scrap metal and the remote locations of such venues in rural areas means that security needs to be appropriately considered.’

He highlighted two elements of the the proposal where planning agents for the Monarch highlighted how no additional security was needed. 

Planning agents for the Monarch wrote of needing additional security measures: ‘The nature of the location means that security measures across the Estate are already high. 

‘This being the case, no additional security measures (CCTV, etc.) are proposed as part of this application.’

They added: ‘The site will not be manned, and no new external lighting is proposed as part of the development.’

Mr Gower proposed a partnership with the developers of the site to ensure that ‘criminal opportunity is reduced’. He explained that incorporating security measures during construction helps to ‘reduce crime, fear of crime and disorder.’

Mr Gower went on to suggest a range of measures that could help ‘achieve a safe and secure environment’.  

He pointed to the need to have a ‘symbolic barrier’ to ‘deter casual intrusion’ and to underscore that the site was not open to the public.

He also recommend a wide range of additional security measures, including fencing, modern CCTV, adequate lighting, and modern gate design that would deter intruders’ ability to climb over. 

There are concerns voiced that due to the wide boundary of the site, it could be trespassed over easily and quietly without modern video surveillance technology. 

Mr Gower also explained that due to ‘realistic chance of a ram raid attack, with the intent to aide theft of the contents,’ that fixed bollards were recommended. He also added that a ‘Perimeter Detection System’ around the edges of the site which would provide ‘early alert of an attack’ would be beneficial.  

The facility, which will mainly supply Sandringham House, the Visitor Centre and the Sawmill, is expected to ‘have an operational lifespan of 40 years’ and the field would then be returned to horse grazing.

The application states that the solar system has been specified to deliver 1.9MW per year to ‘meet the majority of the Estate’s electricity demand.’

It adds: ‘Power will be sent from the power system to the Estate’s three principal power consumers (Sawmill, Visitor Centre and House) using existing infrastructure which, as part of the project, will be upgraded/adapted as required.

‘The proposed development forms part of the Estate’s ongoing commitment to sustainability and promoting environmental practices and follows the installation of a small solar array to the roof of Sandringham House in 2022.’

The site, which is currently used as a grazing paddock, is covered in grass and enclosed by tall trees along two of its boundaries, which would hide the facility from the 500,000 tourists which visit the estate every year.

Police have objected to plans by the King to put the solar panels at Sandringham, citing various security concerns. An offer by police to ensure that the site is secure has been made

Solar panels were already placed on the roof of Sandringham House two years ago

The solar panels, which will be placed across 2.3 hectares of land, will provide a combined total of 2.1MW of energy, which will be used by the estate and a small amount of additional capacity will also be exported to the grid

It is located to the north of Sandringham House on ‘operational’ land within the Estate and bordered by the work’s yard and Royal Stud.

The application stated: ‘The location of the proposed panels is visually contained by existing development and mature vegetation, and the development would not result in the loss of any productive agricultural land.’

It adds: ‘The proposed array would help to address the energy needs of the Estate in a sustainable and carbon neutral manner.’

‘The location is well screened within the local and wider landscape, but still allows for optimum panel orientation due to the more open southern boundary.’

The solar panels will be made from toughened glass and mounted on a steel framework set at an angel of 25 degrees and facing south. The application states the highest part of the panel would be no higher than 3.1 metres.

The solar farm would also include a hybrid power system unit, which would be positioned on the west side of the site and coloured green to match the colour of the nearby works sheds.

The application suggests the solar farm would add value to the estate as a popular tourist destination, adding: ‘The well-screened nature of the site and modest scale of the development means the majority of these visitors would not be aware of the proposed solar array.

‘However the estate may wish to publicise its journey to transition away from carbon-based energy production and, in that sense, the proposed solar development would add further value to the estate as a tourism destination.’

MailOnline has contacted Buckingham Palace for comment. 

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