Tuesday 16 August 2022
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Solar farm capable of powering more than 12,000 homes recommended for go-ahead

A solar farm capable of powering more than 12,000 homes on the National Grid could be given the go-ahead next week.

Bassetlaw District Council will review the plans, near Bumble Bee Farm, in Saundby, during a planning committee meeting on Wednesday (July 6).

Councillors on the committee are being recommended by officers to give the plans their approval.

Documents published ahead of the meeting state the solar farm would likely be in operation for about 40 years and could save more than 11,000 tonnes of CO2 each year through renewable energy.

It would be built on land to the east of the Bumble Bee Farm site, on Gainsborough Road, an area roughly the size of 154 hectares – about 200 football pitches.

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But the documents state only a “small portion” of this land will actually be developed for use as a solar farm, with a battery storage facility also planned on the site.

The plans have been put forward by Enso Energy, one of the UK’s largest renewable energy developers which has a focus on solar energy.

In documents submitted to the authority at the start of this year, the company stated: “Solar farms are one of the most established renewable electricity technologies in the UK and the cheapest form of electricity generation worldwide.

“Solar farms can be built quickly and, coupled with consistent reductions in the cost of materials and improvements in the efficiency of panels, large-scale solar is now viable in some cases to deploy subsidy-free and at little to no extra cost to the consumer.”

The council went out to consultation ahead of next week’s meeting, with no formal objections raised to the plans.

Support was also offered to the proposal from the nearby Beckingham-Cum-Saundby Parish Council, with Ed Knox, the authority’s clerk, stating: “[The] council has no objections to the plans.

“[It] realises that renewable energy is an essential part of meeting the nation’s energy demands.”

The consultation also received five responses from neighbouring residents, with two comments supporting the development.

These comments also included support for a renewable energy supply capable of powering 12,000 homes, reducing carbon emissions and being “in keeping with the location”.

But three objections were received raising concerns over the scale of the development, the loss of agricultural land, the impact on visual amenity, fire risks from battery storage and potential “glint and glare”.

However, the council’s planning department viewed the plans should be given consent and stated the development will “only have moderate impacts” on the area.

In the report, the authority’s planning department said: “There are clear public benefits to the proposal, including the provision of renewable energy and substantial biodiversity enhancement.”

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