Renewable Connections is investigating the potential for a 15MW solar energy farm on 28 hectares of agricultural land of approximately north of Tushingham, Cheshire. Once operational, the project would supply enough power for 5,200 homes, and make a valuable contribution towards tackling the climate emergency in Cheshire West and Chester Council.
As we prepare an application to submit to Cheshire West and Chester Council, Renewable Connections is undertaking consultation to inform local communities of our proposed plans and invite any feedback. We will also be hosting virtual community information events to present our proposals and answer any questions given the COVID-19 pandemic.
We carried out an online community consultation recently, click below to download the presentation. Please email us to request the recording.
8,400 tonnes of CO2 saved annually
18,875 megawatt hours supplied each year
Equivalent annual energy needs of 5,200 homes
46 hectares of land enhanced for native wildlife
The site is located on land within Chad’s Farm, Barhill Drive, Tushingham, Whitchurch, SY13 4QU and land owned by Manor Farm, extending over approximately 28ha. To the east of the site is Wiley Farm which fronts onto the A49 and to the north is open countryside and Bar Mere, which is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), is located approximately 1km north of the site. The site is bounded by the A49 to the east and is northwest of the Quoisley Canal bridge and house, which spans the Shropshire Union Canal.
To the west, the area is open countryside with isolated dwellings located along the A41, in addition to Chad’s Church and Old Chad’s Church.
The solar farm will be accessed via the existing track from the A49. This currently is utilised by farm vehicles and machinery and therefore considered acceptable for Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) associated with the construction of the solar farm.
Our plans are still in the development stages, so our design proposals will evolve as we gather local input and the results of our environmental assessments
If installed the solar farm will have a capacity of up to 15MWp and will be operational for up to 40 years. After the time, all of the installation will be removed and the land restored to how it was before, but with improved soil health and biodiversity. The power generated will be exported to the grid via a substation connecting to existing powerlines which run through the site boundary. No new pylons will be necessary to facilitate the connection.
The solar panels will be installed in rows which run east to west through the site. These rows will be tilted towards the south to capture the maximum amount of solar irradiation possible. The total height of the panels will be no more than 2.75m above the ground with a gap of more than 0.8m above the ground at its minimum.
Small electric cabins will be located amongst the panels and these will be accessed by a network of crushed stone track which will run through the site. All of the panels will be surrounded by a deer fencing to protect the equipment from large animals entering the site. CCTV cameras will be located periodically around the site perimeter for security.
The development will also involve additional landscaping including hedgerow planting and improved biodiversity management. The site is currently pasture and arable land with low ecological value, however with the implementation of a Green Infrastructure Plan the site will be significantly enhanced for biodiversity by creating a range of new habitats, offering food and shelter to wildlife.
Spring 2020 – Summer 2021
Following the Government’s declaration of an “Environment and Climate Emergency” in May 2019, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) advised that to meet ‘Net Zero’ targets, the UK will require substantial amounts of new, low carbon power sources to be built before 2050 – up to four times that of today’s levels.
Cheshire West and Chester Council declared their own climate emergency on 21 May 2019 acknowledging that urgent action is required to limit the environmental impacts produced by the climate crisis. The Council published a “Climate Emergency Response Plan” in early 2020 which sets out the actions that the Council will take in order to achieve ‘Net Zero’ by 2045, including the need for a significant increase in solar energy production from a current capacity of 0.032GW, targeting 300MW of installed capacity by 2025 and 800MW by 2050 (a 25x increase over 30 years). Chads Solar Farm will make a significant contribution towards meeting this target.
Solar is one of the cleanest, lowest cost forms of energy available. Chads Farm Solar Farm would make a meaningful contribution towards Cheshire West and Chester Council’s energy needs by delivering green energy to over 10,000 homes annually. Over the lifetime of the project, it would save an estimated 8,400 tonnes of CO2 from being emitted. This is around the same reduction in carbon emissions as taking over 4,850 cars off UK roads.
This site has been identified following extensive site selection across Cheshire West and Chester which took into account environmental designations, local electricity network access and capacity, the physical characteristics of the site, and the need for a supportive landowner
For a period of approximately 6 months during construction, there will be deliveries of equipment to site. Renewable Connections will put in place measures to manage impacts of construction traffic and these measures will be included in a Construction Traffic Management Plan that will submitted with the planning application. There will be infrequent maintenance visits to the site during operation.
Solar farms are temporary and the land will be fully reinstated to farmland once the equipment is removed at the end of the project life.
No – solar is a passive technology which doesn’t produce any harmful by-products.
The development proposes a life span of up to 40 years. No later than this, the development would be decommissioned, and the site returned to solely agricultural use. A decommissioning plan will be provided with the planning submission.
No – solar farms are not noisy, producing no more than normal background levels of sound similar to wind or distant traffic beyond the site boundary.
An Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Screening Opinion application is required to be submitted ahead of certain planning applications in order for the Council to assess whether or not an Environmental Statement (ES) is required to be submitted for consideration as part of the justification for a proposed development.
In this case, Cheshire West and Chester Council has confirmed that an ES is required due to the scale and nature of the proposed solar farm development. As a result, Renewable Connections will undertake additional environmental surveys to assess the baseline conditions and to confirm that the proposed solar farm would not have an unacceptable impact on the local area. The Council will then take this report into consideration when determining the merits of the planning application.
C/O Pegasus Group
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