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Green light for massive solar farm

30 Nov 2023 3 minute read
Royal Glamorgan Hospital In Llantrisant. Picture via Google

Anthony Lewis, local democracy reporter

A massive solar farm on land at a former colliery in Rhondda Cynon Taf, has been given the go ahead.

The application for a six megawatt (MW) solar farm at the site of the former Coed Ely colliery off the A4119 was approved by Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s planning committee last week.

The scheme is expected to generate up to 6MW of power with 5MW to be connected directly to the National Grid and 1MW to be connected to the nearby hospital.

Carbon reduction

The council, which is the applicant, has said the scheme has been developed with the main goal being carbon reduction, with it expected to deliver a cut of more than 7,355 tonnes of carbon during its 40-year lifetime, after which the facility would be shut and all equipment removed from site.

The site will be made up of 10,992 photovoltaic (PV) panels, half of which will face east and half towards the west, allowing use throughout the day.

The planning report said the panels would be installed at a low pitch to reduce any potential glare sometimes associated with solar farms.

An existing access from the adjacent Parc Coed Elai Business Park would be used, which in turn links to the nearby A4119.

Landscaping

The scheme also includes landscaping works and biodiversity enhancement measures, four electricity substations, 18 inverters, 2m-high perimeter fencing and CCTV and internal service tracks.

It added that the development has purposely been kept out of any high ecologically valued habitat and very little site clearance will be required.

Underground cables will connect the solar farm to the local distribution network and the Royal Glamorgan Hospital, through the business park and under the A4119.

In recommending approval, planning officers said: “The provision of a solar farm in this location will result in a considerable contribution to the local authority’s commitment to becoming ‘net zero’ in terms of its carbon footprint by 2050.

“Further, it will greatly assist in powering an existing nearby hospital to the benefit of all residents; and the delivery of clean, renewable energy provides clear environmental benefits.

“It is accepted the proposed development will inevitably result in a degree of impact to the character and appearance of the area, but subject to appropriate conditions/mitigation, it is considered any potential impact would not be unacceptable.

“Finally, it is not considered there would any undue impact to the amenity levels currently enjoyed by the closest neighbouring residents, and the impact of the scheme upon ecology and land drainage can be properly mitigated.”

Special Landscape area

The report said the main element of the site is within the Mynydd Hugh and Llantrisant Forest Special Landscape Area, a sandstone resource area, an area of potentially contaminated land from previous industrial use and land reclamation and an area where there is a high risk from historic underground coal mining.

It also said a public right of way crosses through part of the site and the main site is directly adjacent to the Tonyrefail Mountains and River Ely Sites of Importance for Nature Conservation.

No public representations were received about the plans, according to the report.


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Ap Kenneth
6 months ago

6MW is not massive, good decision to use a brown field site and to have panels facing SE & SW so that generation is more evenly spread during daylight hours and not peaking at midday.

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