6th February 2014 - British solar farm developer and operator, Lightsource Renewable Energy, is returning to Alpington and Yelverton Village Hall to announce revisions to their design for a solar farm in the area. Information packs were sent out to local residents today highlighting the changes - which reveal that an entire field has been removed from the plan, and a more secluded field to the north has been included instead. The revisions mean the planned solar farm is now further away from the residences of Yelverton, as well as the two public footpaths to the south and east.
Conor McGuigan, Planning and Development Director at Lightsource Renewable Energy, comments:
“We distributed our initial plans to residents in November last year, and held a Community Information Evening at the village hall to meet residents in person and collate their feedback. This was a fruitful exercise and our Planning team has since been able to take on board the points raised, and produce an amended proposal.”
“There were other concerns which we have also tried hard to address, including the access route for delivery vehicles during the installation phase. Our teams looked into the possibility of accessing the site from Loddon Road to the north, rather than through Yelverton village. Unfortunately it looks like this would be unsafe – Loddon Road is a fast A-road and having HGVs turning onto it at this point would create a hazard for other road users. Having said this, we are positive that we can put plans in place to keep traffic disruption in Yelverton to a minimum. The solar farm would only take about 8 weeks to install, with deliveries staggered throughout, averaging about 6 per day along the route which HGVs currently use to access the poultry farm. We will implement a traffic management plan throughout the installation to ensure we avoid deliveries at peak times. Once the solar farm is in place, it would only be accessed by staff about once per month in regular cars or 4x4s - this should cause no inconvenience to residents at all.”
If the proposal goes ahead, the solar farm at Avenue Farm will produce more than just green energy. As well as powering over 2,000 households, the plans also reveal that sheep will graze amongst the panels, and a wild flower meadow will be sown around the perimeter to improve habitat prospects for birds, bees and insects. New hedgerow planting will help to screen the farm from the wider area and will also strengthen wildlife corridors and re-establish historic field boundaries. “Mammal gates” in the fencing will allow small mammals to enjoy the tranquil solar farm area and pass through it undisrupted.
These activities mean that the long term care of the solar farm area requires more than just technical expertise, and Lightsource is calling for local businesses to provide their input. Conor continues:
“Solar power is a dependable source of energy, and farming it creates a great opportunity to establish a sustainable local supply chain. There are many ways people can get involved - from the point of design right through to construction, fencing, and enhancing habitats for local wildlife.”
Lightsource is currently seeking the following expertise/involvement in this scheme from the local area:
· Residents to provide local knowledge and input into the design before a formal planning application is submitted
· Wildlife enthusiasts – solar farms provide excellent opportunities to enhance biodiversity in the local area
· Security personnel
· Traffic management & civil roadways experts
· Accommodation & Food and Beverage providers
· Storage and logistics businesses
· Fencing experts
· Landscapers specialising in local/native species
Lightsource Renewable Energy is returning to Alpington and Yelverton Village Hall on Monday 17th February. Visitors are welcome to drop in any time between 5:30 and 7:30pm to find out more about the revised proposal and how they can get involved.