Landfill site considered for giant solar farm
Richard Youle, local democracy reporter
Thousands of solar panels could be installed at Swansea’s Tir John landfill site.
Swansea Council chiefs outlined plans to use part of the Port Tennant site for solar energy in 2019, and now a full planning application has been submitted.
Around 5,500 solar panels would occupy a third of the sprawling 36-hectare site, which closed this year for good to black bag waste.
The land is synonymous with Swansea’s industrial past. Mining took place before the Tir John coal-fired power station was built in the 1930s, later switching to oil before it was decommissioned in 1976.
Documents submitted as part of the council’s planning application said the site was potentially a high-risk area for unexploded Luftwaffe bombs from the Second World War.
For decades the city’s household waste then ended up in Tir John. The area where the solar farm is proposed has been capped. Access to the panels would be via Wern Fawr Road – and the existing household waste recycling centre to the south would remain open.
The solar farm would be very close to the Crymlyn Bog National Nature Reserve, while just under a kilometre away a company called Innova Renewables Ltd has planning consent for a larger solar array.
The planning documents on behalf of the council include biodiversity, ground contamination, and glint and glare impacts – and no unacceptable adverse impacts to the environment have been deemed likely.
The solar farm would generate revenue for the council as well as contributing towards its 2030 “net zero” carbon pledge.
“Overall, the proposed development will provide significant benefits, and will contribute to national and local carbon reduction targets,” said a design and access statement.
Various organisations as well as some people living close to Tir John were consulted prior to the application being submitted. One resident responded, saying they supported the solar farm proposal but wanted to know if local people would benefit from potential community ownership and/or a reduction in energy bills.
Meanwhile, capping and restoration work continues at other parts of Tir John. Black bag waste is handled by two waste processors, with much of it being incinerated at an energy-from-waste facility in Bedfordshire and none of it remaining in Swansea.
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