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SOUTH GLOUCESTERSHIRE: Solar farm plans

SOUTH GLOUCESTERSHIRE: Solar farm plans

A satellite view of the proposed solar farm site near Wickwar (Image: Google Maps,

Plans for one of the UK’s biggest solar farms near Bristol that could power 17,000 homes are set to be granted permission.

South Gloucestershire councillors are being recommended to approve the proposed development spanning 16 agricultural fields on 68 hectares (167 acres) of land a mile west of Wickwar.

But three parish councils and 35 residents have lodged objections, while there have been 13 letters of support for the application at Newlands Farm, West End, by Rag Lane Solar.

If development management committee members give the go-ahead on Thursday (November 25), the 49.99 megawatt solar farm would run for 40 years before the land was returned to its current state.

Wickwar, Cromhall and Rangeworthy parish councils object because of concerns including flooding, road safety, harmful impact on the countryside and the “industrial” scale of the proposals.

But the application is not opposed by any of South Gloucestershire Council’s officers following changes to the plans along the way which addressed issues such as ecology, security, flooding and public rights of way, and it has “strong support” from the authority’s climate change team.

A report to members says the site is rural but not in the greenbelt and the quality of the soil is mostly poor for agriculture.

It says: “The proposed solar energy farm, in providing power to 17,000 homes, would make a significant contribution towards renewable energy production in South Gloucestershire as well as moving towards the national commitment.

“These benefits therefore carry significant weight in considering this planning application.”

The report says it would increase the production of renewable solar energy in the district by more than half.

“A difficult balance has to be struck between finding sites of sufficient size with good grid connection, with acceptable landscape, residential amenity, ecology, hydrology, heritage and transport impacts,” it says.

The report says the ground-mounted solar panels would be more than 70 metres from the nearest home and noise and traffic levels were acceptable.

The site is bounded to the east by Rag Lane and to the west by the B4058 Bristol/Bagstone Road, while Cowslip Lane is further north.

Words: Adam Postans, Local Democracy Reporter


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