Plans for 500-acre solar farm in South Derbyshire come to light – Derbyshire Live

The scheme is so big that the Government will decide whether it should go-ahead
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Plans to create a huge solar farm on more than 500 acres of agricultural land in South Derbyshire have been revealed.
The 540-acre site stretches from north of Catton almost a square-mile to Drakelow, with Walton to the left, and Rosliston to the right.
Part of the proposed site would be close to Rosliston Forestry Centre.
The proposed solar farm is so big that the Government will decide whether the scheme will go-ahead, rather than South Derbyshire District Council, Staffordshire Live reports.
For comparison, St George's Park, England's football HQ near Burton, is only 200 acres.
It comes as another application for a solar farm in Lullington, also in South Derbyshire, has been submitted to the district council for a site comprising 173 acres.
The Catton plan is now in the very early stages of development, with the consultation phase recently starting. A scoping request, which sets out the proposals and considers the environmental effects, has been submitted to an independent planning inspectorate.
If agreed, further studies and assessments will take place as part of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process. The EIA look to reduce, avoid and mitigate identified environmental effects.
Due to the size of the project, an application to the planning inspectorate will be submitted under the Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP) regime in 2022.
Such projects are major infrastructure schemes such as larger scale solar farms and electricity transmission lines, which require a type of consent known as ‘development consent’.
For such a project, the planning inspectorate examines the application and will make a recommendation to the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, who will make the decision on whether to grant or refuse development consent.
Further details can be found by looking at the project information page on the BayWa r.e. website here.
Oaklands Farm Solar Limited, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of BayWa r.e. UK Ltd, is behind the application.
It said: "The proposals comprise a solar farm plus energy storage covering 540 acres over two separate parcels of land, connected to the national electricity network by a new overhead cable.
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"The expected generating capacity of the project at this stage is 163 megawatts of solar power, and 37.5 megawatts of energy storage capacity.
"The project will connect to the national grid via an overhead cable to Drakelow Substation located to the north of the site
"The site lies on open, agricultural land interspersed and surrounded by a network of hedgerows.
"The solar farm would comprise of rows of solar panels mounted on metal frames (tables) secured into the ground via simple piled metal stanchions approximately 2.5m high. Energy storage would comprise batteries and electrical components housed in 15 to 20 steel shipping containers approximately three metres high, covering about two acres of the site.
"The layout will be designed to protect public footpaths and landscaping measures will include enhancing and improving the network of hedgerows around and within the site."
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