CIVIC chiefs have given the go ahead for a £1.2m solar farm at a Hampshire country park.

Councillors from Eastleigh Borough Council unanimously approved the proposals that will see 3,600 solar panels installed at Lower Russell’s Field, Itchen Valley Country Park.

This will generate around 1 megawatt of electricity – enough to power around 260 homes a year.

Work on the scheme is expected to start in the summer.

The council says the scheme will generate a profit of more than £1m in the first 20 years and will also help contribute towards its target of producing 35 per cent renewable energy.

Daily Echo: Itchen Valley Country Park

Council leader Keith House has previously said that the panels will be on land not used by the public and far away from the visitors centre. These panels will reduce CO2 emissions by around 540 tonnes.

Hedge End, West End and Botley Local Area Committee, part of Eastleigh Borough Council, approved the plans.

This comes as plans for a solar farm near Hursley were welcomed by residents. Orta Solar wants to build on 32 acres of land off the B3043 north of Hocombe, generating enough energy for more than 1,700 homes and saving 1,800 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions each year.

Winchester City councillor Jan Warwick said renewable energy would help offer energy security, support the local economy and contribute towards lower carbon figures.

Hursley Parish Council has no problem with the plan.

Landowner Viscount Lifford declined to comment.