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Hotel ordered to remove solar panels over airport safety fears

27 Oct 2023 2 minute read
Holiday Inn Express Cardiff Airport in Rhoose was issued with an enforcement notice after putting up solar panels without planning permission. Pic: Google Maps

Ted Peskett, local democracy reporter

A hotel next to Cardiff Airport has been ordered to remove solar panels it installed without planning permission after safety concerns were raised.

Vale of Glamorgan Council issued Holiday Inn Express Cardiff Airport in Rhoose with an enforcement notice after raising concerns that the development could potentially impact the safety of flights operating at the airport.

The hotel has lodged an enforcement appeal against the council’s decision and submitted a planning application for the solar panels.

Planning permission

A Vale of Glamorgan Council spokesperson said: “The Council became aware that solar panels had been added to the south-facing roof slopes of the hotel.

“Such a development is not permitted due to the proximity to the airport and so planning permission is required.

“This is to allow relevant authorities the opportunity to assess proposals, to ensure that there would not be any glint or glare or any other impact which may affect the safe operation of air traffic.

“It is likely that this would involve a technical assessment of the panels to establish their orientation, type and relationship to the airport and air traffic routes.”

The presence of solar panels on the roof of the Holiday Inn Express was first brought to the attention of Vale of Glamorgan Council following a complaint on 5 September 2023.

Solar panels usually don’t require planning permission, but as the hotel is located within 3km of the airport an application should have been made in this instance.

Speaking at a Vale of Glamorgan Council planning committee meeting on Thursday October 26, Cllr Neil Thomas said: “It is an important one, really. It seems minor, but it is important because of aircraft safety… and it has to be right [because] dazzled pilots aren’t that healthy.”

Vale of Glamorgan Council also issued the hotel with a temporary stop notice to prevent any further panels from being installed on the building.

A spokesperson for Holiday Inn Express Cardiff Airport said: “We are working closely with local authorities to resolve this matter and remain committed to our long-term environmental sustainability goals.”

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