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GRANTED PERMISSION: Solar farm set for approval

GRANTED PERMISSION: Solar farm set for approval

A CGI of the proposed solar farm, Image: LDRS

A massive solar farm which with thousands of panels to harness the power of the sun is set to be granted permission in Wolverhampton.

The farm, will which be the equivalent of 21 football pitches in size, will produce power for the city’s main hospital.

Most of Bowman’s Harbour, which is a former landfill site plagued by fly-tipping and anti-social behaviour, will be converted into 11.5 hectares of solar panels, infrastructure and an access road.

When it is operational the solar farm – a joint project by City of Wolverhampton Council and the NHS Trust – will produce 6.9MWp of renewable energy to New Cross Hospital.

Members of the authority’s planning committee are expected to give the green light to the proposal at a meeting on Tuesday, September 14.

The authority’s planning agents Arcadis said: “The proposals present an exciting opportunity to contribute significantly towards the energy demands of New Cross Hospital in Wolverhampton, utilising green technology to provide clean, carbon zero and renewable energy.

“The utilisation of this unused landfill site for the generation of solar energy will prevent the use of the site as currently is the case for anti-social behaviour and fly tipping through the development of the site and the proposed security measures.”

A report to planning committee said there had only been one objection to the scheme with a resident raising concerns about the impact on nature and wildlife.

A survey found that badgers extensively use the site.

But planning officer Phillip Walker said: “This development proposal would generate significant levels of renewable energy for use by New Cross Hospital and responds positively to the Government’s objectives of tackling the causes of climate change and moving to a low carbon future.

“It would make an important contribution towards meeting a Wolverhampton wide target of 2041 for the City to reach net carbon zero.

“Although there would be some adverse impacts in terms of ecology, landscape and visual quality, these can be acceptably mitigated and controlled
by conditions, and any harm caused is outweighed by the benefits in respect of renewable energy production and the reversible nature of this development proposal.”

When the proposal for the Planetary Road site was announced last year, the council said the solar farm would help in its bid to make the city greener.

During the council’s climate change consultation, 82 per cent of residents said they would welcome solar farms in Wolverhampton.

Councillor Steve Evans, Cabinet Member for City Environment at City of Wolverhampton Council said: “Since declaring our Climate Emergency in July 2019, the council has been supporting its partners towards making Wolverhampton zero carbon.

“I’m pleased to see the council supporting the local hospital in achieving its ambitions to reduce carbon emissions in the city.

“The new development will certainly have a positive impact in making Wolverhampton a greener city.”

David Loughton, Chief Executive at The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust added: “As the largest employer in Wolverhampton, we take sustainability very seriously and are committed to continually working to reduce our carbon footprint.

“We have taken a number of steps to reduce and better manage our energy consumption and operate in a sustainable manner.

“One of these steps is to look at using renewable energy so we are very pleased about this partnership.”

 

Words: Gurdip Thandi, Local Democracy Reporter


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