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19-acre solar farm plan for outskirts of Telford

Telford | News | Published:

A huge solar farm could be built on the outskirts of Telford.

Developer Vogt Solar has submitted an application to Telford & Wrekin Council to build on Cheshire Coppice Farm in Bratton.

The near 19-acre development would see thousands of panels installed to meet the electricity requirements of, on average, around 1,500 UK homes per year.

Sarah Bower, for Vogt Solar, said it would be in place for 25 years.

"The land will continue to be grazed by sheep whilst energy is being generated, keeping the land in agricultural use," she added. "A mixed species grass meadow would be created beneath and around the solar panels, attracting insects and birds, and improving biodiversity.

"The solar farm will be temporary. It will be a dual use of electricity generation and grazing where appropriate continuing for 25 years. After that, all panels and associated cabling will be removed and recycled, and the fields can be used for arable farming or continue as grazing for livestock."

The developer claims the farm would save around 2,150 tonnes of carbon dioxide each year, or more than 50,000 over the 25-year life of the development.

Mrs Bower said there would also community benefits: "The business rates generated by the solar farm will go directly to the local authority."

"A community benefit fund would be set up to support local renewable energy, energy efficiency or other projects."

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The company held a public exhibition and consultation event at The Pheasant Inn, Admaston, where 57 per cent of those who filled in questionnaires said they supported the proposals.

Just one per cent opposed it, with the rest claiming they were still undecided.

Telford & Wrekin Council has its own solar farm on land in Wheat Leasows, near Hadley, which, when it is fully up and running, will produce enough electricity to power 1,000 homes. Theauthority is thought to be one of the first in the country to run such a development, put forward in a bid to bring in money to combat hard-hitting Government cuts and protect frontline services.

The authority is looking at ways to bring in money to help reduce the impact of cuts to their grant from central government, which means they have to find £20 million in savings by 2016 on top of £50 million they have already cut since 2009.

The council will make a decision on the application in the near future, she added.

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