Alnwick solar farm will provide green energy for nearby businesses

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Plans for a new solar farm at Alnwick have been approved by Northumberland County Council.

The solar panels will provide clean electricity to a number of nearby businesses, but it will not not be connected to the national grid.

The Duke of Northumberland’s development company, which is behind the scheme, says it has potential to deliver up to four megawatts of renewable solar energy.

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The array will be built south of the town on a 6.64 hectare site bordered by the A1 to the east and the Duchess’s Community High School to the west.

Solar panels.Solar panels.
Solar panels.

Nearby Quotient Sciences has already signed up for a supply.

The proposals were well received by the public – despite the fact that 132 were neighbours notified, the county council received just one objection.

Speaking at the council’s strategic planning committee, Cllr Barry Flux said; “Alnwick is a rural district with lots of beautiful sites, but this is in an urban service centre.

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“It would seem to be that the location by the A1 and the business parks is an ideal location for it. I wholeheartedly support it.”

The site is considered as lower quality agricultural land, with a report presented to members explaining that the loss of this land for the 40-year lifespan of the solar farm was “not considered to be significant”.

Furthermore, it is “anticipated” that the soil quality would improve over the “long fallow period”, making it more productive in the future.

While National Highways – formerly Highways England – did object to the proposals over concerns over glint and glare for drivers on the A1, these concerns have since been addressed. A “soil bund” will be used to restrict views onto the site as well as the aforementioned glint and glare.

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Cllr Richard Dodd, who has solar panels on his own property, disputed whether glint and glare was an issue.

He said: “There is a lot that goes on about glint and glare. I’ve got solar panels and there’s no real glint or glare from them that blinds you. It’s a bit of a myth.”

The scheme was unanimously approved by councillors, in line with officers’ recommendations.