Alnwick solar farm set to get the green light despite initial concerns about glare

Plans for a solar farm on the outskirts of Alnwick are poised to get the green light if highways concerns can be overcome.
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Northumberland Estates wants to develop a site close to the A1 on the southern edge of the town.

The Duke of Northumberland’s development company says it has potential to deliver up to four megawatts of renewable solar energy to local businesses via private wire connections.

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The scheme is being recommended for approval by Northumberland County Council’s strategic planning committee on Tuesday, November 7 – subject to highways matters being resolved.

Solar panels.Solar panels.
Solar panels.

National Highways originally objected to this proposal on grounds that the proposed glint and glare mitigation along the shared boundary of the A1.

The initial mesh fencing proposal was not considered acceptable but an amended design to a solid bund which could also be planted was accepted in principle.

Discussions regarding compliance and safeguarding conditions which will limit the solar panels to the eastern field only until such time as the bund is in situ are ongoing.

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It has been clarified that access would be via Taylor Drive and the Quotient Sciences site.

When the application was submitted, Barry Spall, development planner at Northumberland Estates, said: “Our goal is to help with the transition to a low carbon future through the development and management of new renewable energy assets, which support the delivery of more sustainable energy.

"Our proposed plan for a solar farm in Alnwick will not only deliver green energy but will support local businesses with their energy supply.”

The time-limited scheme would run for 40 years, generating renewable energy and offsetting CO2 emissions; at the end of its lifespan, the land would revert to agricultural land.

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Quotient Sciences has already signed up for a supply, if the scheme goes ahead.

David Love, the council’s specialist senior officer, reported: ‘A glint assessment has been undertaken which indicates that glimpses of glint, if any, from public roads from the perspective of a motorist would be very weak and pass by very quickly, having no material impact, with the panels coated to aid the absorption of daylight.’

He also acknowledges the climate emergency declared by the council and that the scheme would make an important contribution to off-setting carbon emissions.