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Solar farm on the cards for farmland

Times Echo and Life / All News / Solar farm on the cards for farmland
1 month, 16 days agoNo Comments.
17 JUN

Solar farm on the cards for farmland

By timesecholife on in All News, Featured News

Solar panels could be set to cover more than 70 hectares of farmland next to the A50. No plans have yet been submitted for the solar farm in Upper Leigh, but pre-application advice has been sought from both East Staffordshire Borough Council (ESBC) and Staffordshire Moorlands District Council (SMDC).

Solar panels could be set to cover more than 70 hectares of farmland next to the A50.

No plans have yet been submitted for the solar farm in Upper Leigh, but pre-application advice has been sought from both East Staffordshire Borough Council (ESBC) and Staffordshire Moorlands District Council (SMDC).

The boundary between the two authorities runs directly through the site.

Arcus Consultancy Services Ltd acting on behalf of the applicant, Lightrock Power, have submitted a request for a ‘screening opinion’ from both authorities, in regard to the requirement of an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).

ESBC has considered the request and concluded that the EIA will not be necessary.

Adjacent to Far Teanleys Farm and the A50, the site is between the villages of Lower Tean, Upper Leigh and Lower Leigh.

It is 760m from Newton Solar near Totmonslow.

Concerns over access to the site and impact on the countryside have been raised by nearby residents on social media.

According to a report submitted by Arcus: “The development would be a ground mounted solar PV farm with associated infrastructure including housing for inverters, transformers, battery storage containers and electrical equipment, 23m (h) electrical connection mast/ tower as well as fencing, security cameras, cabling and access tracks.

The site is bisected by the local authority boundary which runs in a south west – north east direction with land within SMDC to the north and ESBC to the south.

Given the location of the site, the nature of the development, the topography within and around the site, and due to the fact that the site is largely already screened with hedgerow and treeline shelterbelt (which can be readily extended alongside the development), it is considered that any effects would be localised and there is no potential for significant effects on the landscape, including cumulatively.”

Several public rights of way across the site could be closed during construction, but are expected to be reopened when the development is complete.

Planning officers at ESBC decided a formal screening opinion be adopted that an Environmental Assessment will not be required.

Reasons given in a report included: “The site is not located within a sensitive area as defined by the EIA Regulations.

Whilst there is another existing solar farm development in the locality – it is concluded that neither in visual or pollution terms would cumulative effects be significant given the topography and natural features within the locality.

The site is agricultural land and the development is proposed to be of a scale that would not be significant beyond its local environs.

There will be impacts in terms of impacts on the setting of listed buildings and visual amenities, however, these will be localised and capable of assessment – by way of the planning balance (as per the National Planning Policy Framework guidance) – during any planning application process by way of fully informed assessment based on documentation submissions.

Preliminary investigations confirm that there are no significant or complex environmental effects resulting from the proposals and that those environmental impacts envisaged can be addressed through attention to relevant legislation, submission of sufficient information at the planning application stage and the implementation of a CEMP if deemed necessary as a condition of any planning permission (should it be forthcoming).

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