PLANS have been lodged by Newport council for a new solar farm next to the Gwent Levels.
If approved, a 2.37MW solar farm will be built on land to the west of Dock Way recycling centre.
The land, which is currently used for agricultural purposes, could be used “temporarily” as a solar farm for a period of 35 years, according to the planning application.
A design and access statement for the plans says that access to the solar farm would be created via the M4 and A48 network. It would require minimal works as the access track was previously used for the former Maesglas tip.
The access statement says:
“The proposal is likely to generate a total of 55 construction and delivery vehicle trips (110 two-way trips) during the most intensive phase of construction.
“Based on a two-week period, this will equate to approximately eight-vehicle trips (two-way) per day.”
In a pre-application consultation, the Campaign for the Protection of Rural Wales raised objections to the plans.
The charity raised concerns over the location of the development, which is in close proximity to the Gwent Levels and near to an “undeveloped coastal zone”.
The charity also raised concerns over the impact of the development on the wider landscape and the number of applications for solar farms in the area.
The charity said: “There are currently multiple applications for solar arrays of various sizes on sites on and around the Gwent Levels.
“There is a serious danger of an overall insidious detrimental impact on the wider landscape as a result of these numerous proposals.
“In our opinion, like many solar developments, it is implausible for a development to be considered temporary if it is going to remain in place for 35 years.”
In response, the pre-application consultation report says that an assessment was commissioned, and the development will have “no direct or indirect physical impact” because it is not located within the Gwent Levels.
“With regards to the temporary nature of the development, the planning application proposes a 35-year lifespan, as such, the development would be required to be decommissioned after this period, in accordance with any permission.”
The application will be considered by the council in the coming months.