Solar farm near Wellingborough gets go-ahead

Farmland near Wellingborough is set to be turned into a solar farm generating renewable energy
Farmland near Wellingborough is set to be turned into a solar farm generating renewable energy
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Farmland near Wellingborough is set to be turned into a solar farm generating renewable energy.

The application by Lark Energy for temporary change of use from arable farmland to a solar farm generating renewable electricity on land off The Ridge, Great Doddington, was approved by members of Wellingborough Council’s planning committee last week.

The scheme is for a temporary operational period of 25 years and will generate about 8GWh of renewable energy on average each year – the equivalent to the electricity demand of 2,000 homes.

Cllr Martin Griffiths, vice-chairman of the council’s planning committee, said: “The committee welcomed this application and approval was unanimously granted.

“The local parish council was also in favour of it.

“We were particularly impressed with the effort the applicant had put into making sure the solar farm would have limited visual impact, and had revised the layout following extensive consultation with local residents.

“This solar farm will generate enough electricity to power 2,000 homes a year, as well as significantly reducing carbon emissions.

“The application was considered on the exact same day that it was announced fuel prices were set to rise once again, making alternative energy sources even more important.”

According to the report considered by councillors, the solar farm will consist of rows of fixed solar photovoltaic panels mounted on metal frames.

Panels will be tilted, with a maximum height of no more than 3m from ground level to the top of the panel frame.

Planting will take place on the eastern boundary with existing hedges to the west, north and south of the site strengthened to help with screening.

Lark Energy has said it will put measures in place to mitigate any effect on wildlife, including the potential for ecological enhancements.

Some residents from Great Doddington had raised concerns about the plans ahead of last week’s meeting.

Their concerns included loss of view, the effect on the value of their properties and whether there was an overriding need for a solar farm to be positioned in Great Doddington.

But after being put to the vote, councillors unanimously approved the plans subject to a number of conditions, including that permission is for a temporary period and the structures are removed and the land reinstated to its former condition on or before the end of October 2039.