Huge solar farm near Bedlington granted planning permission by Northumberland councillors
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The site, near Bedlington, consists of ten fields and 195 acres, equivalent to around 130 football pitches. Once complete, the solar panels will produce 49.9 megawatts of clean electricity, enough power for up to 13,000 homes.
Applicant Bluefield Renewable Energy Developments has already received planning consent for two other solar farms in south east Northumberland, each set to power around 15,000 homes.
The land, south of Broadway House Farm on Church Lane in Bedlington, is currently used to produce haylage and was previously used for opencast coal extraction in the 1950s and 60s.
When the solar farm is constructed, sheep will be grazed on the land.
Speaking at Tuesday’s meeting of Northumberland County Council’s strategic planning committee, Adam Hogg of West Bedlington Town Council said he and his colleagues supported the plans.
Cllr Hogg said: “The developer has discussed this application with the town council over a number of meetings and listened to the concerns of us and the residents.
"The council support the environmental gain and increased biodiversity through tree planting.
“This application also provides much-needed reductions in the town’s overall carbon footprint. We ask the committee to support the application.”
The applicant’s managing director, Jonathan Selwyn, told members the site was “well screened” and that there were no public rights of way. He also said there had only been two objections from members of the public, and none from statutory consultees.
Cllr Barry Flux said: “It would seem to me to be the ideal place for this. This is far less intrusive than other forms of renewable energy. I wholeheartedly support this application.”
Chairman Cllr Trevor Thorne added: “It is more renewable energy that we are delivering in Northumberland. It is a very well screened site.
“With these applications, we are often looking at the damage that they do to people living close by. I think that damage has been kept to a minimum in this application. The applicant does seem to have done their homework.”
The plans were unanimously approved by the committee. Once built, the solar panels will have a lifespan of forty years.