Solar farm capable of producing enough energy to power more than 2,500 homes approved
Anthony Lewis, local democracy reporter
A solar farm which could produce enough energy to power more than 2,500 homes has been approved.
The application from Talgren Solar Limited includes the construction and operation of the solar farm near Llantrisant, including access, fencing, CCTV, internal service tracks, ancillary equipment and landscaping.
The plans for the site at Rhiwfelin Fawr Farm were approved by Rhondda Cynon Taf’s planning committee on Thursday, January 25.
It will cover about 4.3 hectares and generate up to 9.9 megawatts of electricity, enough to power about 2,600 homes, offset nearly 2,850 tonnes of carbon each year and would be the equivalent of 1,100 cars off the road.
The main access will be via the farm’s existing access, with a secondary one proposed off Pantybrad, which will serve the substation but the plans say this will be used on an ad-hoc basis for maintenance and repair works.
Biodiversity enhancement measures
The scheme will also include landscaping works and biodiversity enhancement measures.
The planning report said the development had purposely been kept out of any high ecologically valued habitat and very little site clearance will be required.
The solar farm will connect to the local distribution network at an existing substation about 1.3km to the south along the A4119 (Ely Valley Road). The cable from the site to the substation would be below ground and would largely run within the highways.
The solar farm is planned to operate for 40 years, after which it will be shut down and all equipment removed, returning to site to its former condition and use.
There were concerns raised by the council’s ecologist and Natural Resources Wales (NRW) about the site being close to the Rhos Tonyrefail Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and the potential impacts it could have.
As a result, the scheme was changed with 1.4 hectares of the solar panels nearest the SSSI moved.
There were no public representations received in relation to the application.
Planning officers recommended approval, saying: “The provision of a solar farm in this location will result in a positive contribution to Welsh Government renewable energy targets and will provide clean, renewable energy to the benefit of all Rhondda Cynon Taf residents, as well as providing clear environmental benefits.
“While it is accepted the proposed development will inevitably result in a degree of impact to the character and appearance of the area, subject to appropriate conditions/mitigation, it is not considered any potential impact would be significant enough to warrant refusal of the application.”
They said appropriate biodiversity mitigation and enhancement measures would be implemented to ensure there is no detriment to biodiversity or ecology on and around the site or any impact to the SSSI, and these measures can be controlled through conditions and a Section 106 agreement.
They said: “Through the proposed measures, there is actually capacity for the development to evidence some ecological enhancement at the site. There would be no undue impact to the amenity levels currently enjoyed by the closest neighbouring residents, and the impact of the scheme upon highway safety and land drainage can be suitably mitigated.”
Councillor Andrew Dennis said he doesn’t think there’s much of an issue in regards to its effect on the countryside as it will be taken down after 40 years and given the benefits it will give he was happy to approve it.
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