Solar farm plans for former open cast coal mine in Telford

A solar farm which could generate enough electricity to power more then 8,600 homes could be built in Telford, under new plans.

Harworth Group, a regenerator of land and property for development and investment, and greentech, a renewable energy company specialising in solar photovoltaic (PV), have submitted a planning application to Telford & Wrekin Council for the development at the site of the former Huntington Lane open cast coal mine.

The proposed solar farm will generate 28,500 MWh per year in renewable electricity, enough to power 8,650 homes.

The firms say it will save 15,000kg of CO2 per year and make a significant contribution to the climate emergency and Telford & Wrekin Council’s target for the borough to be carbon neutral by 2030.

Bosses say the proposals also offer local economic benefits as there will be opportunities for companies to provide goods and services during the construction, and operation and maintenance phases of the development.

The environmental enhancement strategy for the site includes planting or reinforcing 3km of hedgerows, the creation of new wetland habitats, and areas to be planted with native trees, shrub habitats and wildflower meadows to improve local biodiversity.

The proposals also include improvements to recreational facilities through the provision of open spaces, an extension to the small car park on New Works Lane, and a new permissive path that will provide more options for horse riders, cyclists and recreational users of the area.

The project would be delivered by a joint partnership between Harworth and greentech.

Matthew Smith, senior asset manager at Harworth, said: “The proposed New Works Solar Farm would be the embodiment of the UK Government’s planned Green Industrial Revolution, transforming a former open cast coal mine into a major renewable energy generation site.

"This site will deliver clean electricity to local people and businesses and help Telford & Wrekin Council to meet its ambitious 2030 carbon neutral target.”

Yaw Ofori, managing director at greentech, added: “We are delighted to have worked with Harworth to bring these proposals forward.

"As one of the largest independent managers of solar power plants in Europe, by working with and engaging local stakeholders, we will use our expertise to deliver a site that balances renewable generation as part of the energy transition, with providing a haven for wildlife, biodiversity and an important space for the local community to enjoy.”

As a skilled developer of large-scale ground mounted solar PV power plants, greentech has worked with Harworth to manage the project from conception and would continue to do so during the planning and construction phases and through long-term ownership.

The planning application is expected to be determined by Telford & Wrekin Council later this year.

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