Tuesday 16 July 2024
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Nottingham

Huge Rushcliffe solar farm recommended for approval

Plans for a huge solar farm in Nottinghamshire which could power 14,000 homes have been recommended for approval.

The farm would be built on a 60 hectare piece of land in Rushcliffe.

But local parish councils and some residents have objected to the plans, which they say should not be allowed on Green Belt land in fields at Church Farm in Gotham Road, Kingston-on-Soar.

The applicant Renewable Connections Developments said the development would make “a positive contribution towards reducing carbon emissions” and the solar farm would be decommissioned at the end of its lifespan of around 40 years.

Rushcliffe Borough Council is to decide on the plans on Thursday, November 10.

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Documents say the development would power 14,000 homes
annually saving approximately 22,500 tonnes of CO2 per year.

Council officers are recommending that the development is approved – but Conservative councillors Matt Barney and Rex Walker objected to the plans.

There are objections over there loss of amenity to the residents of Kingston on Soar & Ratcliffe on Soar, loss of agricultural land and the development being contrary to greenbelt policy.

Residents have also objected saying the site would impact their views of the land.

Others said there was a need for renewable energy generation and wider environmental benefits.

There are also objections from Gotham Parish Council, Sutton Bonington Parish Council and Kingston on Soar Parish Council.

A statement from all three councils said: “We object on the basis that, whilst we recognise the need for sustainable energy sources such as solar farms, we are aware of a number of solar farm applications in the local area either in the process of being assessed or being planned.

“We request that a detailed study is undertaken to understand the potential cumulative effect of these and other applications that would cause a major reduction of the local rural landscape applications; the number of solar farms that are required; and then select the site/s that meet the energy output needs but have the least detrimental effect on agricultural land and the greenbelt.”

Sutton Bonington Parish Council added: “The site is in Green Belt and local planning policy states that justification should therefore be provided to show very special circumstances which outweigh the harm to the openness of the green belt and its purpose.”

Kingston on Soar Parish Council said that there are several housing developments being built in the area and said there will be a “significant loss of open countryside” in these areas.

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Council documents said the development would cause “a degree of harm to the Green Belt” but there would be “a limited degree of harm to the landscape”.

The documents stated: “The proposed development is, however, temporary in its nature (40 years).

“As such the harm to the Green Belt and the wider landscape would be reversible.

“In overall conclusion, it is considered that the proposed development would not give rise to unacceptable environmental effects and that the benefits of the scheme are substantial and clearly outweigh any negative harm.”

Sheep would still be able to graze on the land between and underneath the panels, the documents adds.

Renewable Connections Developments Ltd said the full application could include the installation of barn owl boxes, bird nesting boxes, bee hives and log piles.

Construction would take around 24 weeks and only a “small number” of vehicles would visit the site each week.

The applicant added: “At the end of the operational lifespan (circa 40 years), the solar panels and other infrastructure would be removed, and the site restored back to full agricultural use.”

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