Amazing drone footage shows vast scale of tomato greenhouse project outside Norwich
PUBLISHED: 06:00 28 May 2020 | UPDATED: 13:56 28 May 2020
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Two enormous tomato greenhouses are beginning to take shape in fields outside Norwich – part of a £120m project to establish East Anglia as a trailblazer for low carbon farming.
The vast construction footprint, covering an area larger than London’s O2 Arena, can be seen in these spectacular aerial images and drone video footage.
The development on the Colman family’s Crown Point Estate at Kirby Bedon is divided into two greenhouses of seven and nine hectares, and is expected to create 210 new jobs by the time it is operational at the end of this year.
Along with a similar greenhouse being built outside Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk, developers at Low Carbon Farming claim the combined project will have the capacity to produce up to 12pc of the nation’s tomatoes and sweet peppers in a hydroponic vertical growing system, warmed by waste heat recycled from Anglian Water’s nearby water treatment plant – a “world-first” model aimed at reducing the carbon footprint of agriculture.
Despite some earlier delays due to wet weather, the Dutch contractor BOM Group said it is now working “full steam ahead” within Covid-19 health regulations to have the greenhouses up and running by the end of 2020.
READ MORE: Colman family’s pride as construction work begins on vast tomato greenhouse
Chief executive Mike Vermeij said the pursuit of sustainability was “the foundation of the entire project”.
“The water coming into the greenhouse through this system will be 50C, and this will be used to keep the greenhouse at a steady temperature year-round,” he said. “It could potentially be a good example of what future installations will look like in the Netherlands.
“The total power of all the heat pumps and the CHPs (combined heat and power plants) to run them combined will take care of all the energy needs of the greenhouse.
“Not only is this quite a sizeable project for UK standards, but this is also the first of its kind when it comes to the energy supply – possibly even the first in Europe on this scale.”
READ MORE: Huge £120m tomato greenhouses will make East Anglia a beacon for low-carbon farming
Mr Vermeij said Brexit was “actually a big reason to undertake this project,” adding: “Local production and independence from imported goods have become increasingly important because of it. But the risks surrounding Brexit did end up delaying the project a bit, and we ended up adding an extra clause to the contract, because nobody really knows the actual consequences of it.”
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