Fears over potential impact of huge solar farm near Newport

Fears have been raised over the potential 'adverse impact' of a huge solar farm stretching 100 acres which could be built near Newport.

Plans for the new solar farm will be available for residents to view in the meeting next weeks
Plans for the new solar farm will be available for residents to view in the meeting next weeks

A drop-in event is being held next week for residents to view plans from Greentech for the development at the proposed Hilton Fields solar farm, to be built between Lilleshall and Sheriffhales.

If the plans for the farm, located on private agricultural land off Lilyhurst Road, get the green light from Shropshire Council, developers say it will provide clean electricity for 9,500 homes in the area and save 14,400 tonnes of carbon dioxide every year.

But Telford & Wrekin's Andrew Eade, councillor for Church Aston and Lilleshall, said: "Yet again we see more proposals to gobble up another 100 acres of our valuable countryside."

Councillor Andrew Eade

"It's a development which will not only have a detrimental visual impact on our locality but, more importantly, will pollute and sterilise our valuable farm land for generations to come.

“If recent events have taught us anything it is that the production of our own food is essential for our well being and security. This country is now farming less land than at any time since 1945 and, as a result, 60 per cent of our food is imported from abroad.

“Solar farms currently in the pipeline will remove a whopping 150,000 acres of farm land from food production, in addition to the 100,000 acres of rural land lost each year to housing and industrial developments.

“This is all at a time when we have hundreds of acres of available roof space on our local industrial estates, and are still building houses in the borough without in-built solar panels.

“So my message to colleagues at Shropshire Council is quite clear; and that is to take a firm stand against this application. The adverse impact on Lilleshall of yet another solar farm and degradation of our agricultural local landscape really must be stopped.”

An exhibition on the plans takes place on Thursday, October 13, at Lilleshall Memorial Hall from 12pm-7pm.

A team from Greentech will be on hand throughout the day to answer any questions.

Yaw Ofori, managing director for Greentech UK, said: “We are working with a local landowner on transforming part of their land into a solar farm, which will generate clean, green electricity for the local community for the next 40 years.

“We understand that residents might have questions about what we are proposing and some may have concerns about the impact it could have on their day-to-day lives.

"That’s why we are providing a free, drop-in event so residents can ask those questions and give us their honest feedback. We really look forward to meeting as many representatives from the local community in person on the day and talking them through our proposals in more detail.”

Feedback gathered at the public exhibition will be included in Greentech’s full planning application, which will be submitted to Shropshire Council later in the year.

More details on the application are available at hiltonfields.greentech.energy

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