July 1, 2013
No EIA Required for the Rydon Farm Solar Park
Teignbridge District Council have today decided that no Environmental Impact Assessment will be needed for proposals to build two large scale solar PV arrays either side of Rydon Farm near Ogwell. Their decision letter is addressed to Orta Solar, although the "pre-application enquiry" also mentioned Steadfast Solar Limited. In it Teignbridge's case officer states that:
I have concluded that the proposal does not constitute EIA development as it is unlikely to have significant environmental effects.
The two parts of the proposed solar farm will supposedly generate 9 MW and 4 MW of electrical power when working at the peak of their respective capacities. The project follows what seems to be the standard pattern for this part of the world, covering a total of 27.6 hectares of largely grade 2 agricultural land that has a handy set of overhead electricity cables running across it. In this case those cables are rated at 11 kV.
With that hurdle out of the way I assume a planning application will follow at some point. Before shelling out a considerable sum of money for that, however, Orta may wish to watch this speech given in Cornwall recently by Greg Barker, Minister of State at the Department of Energy & Climate Change:
Note the bit where Greg reveals his "key message":
Solar is a genuinely exciting energy of the future, it is coming of age and we want to see a lot, lot more. But not at any cost… not in any place… not if it rides roughshod over the views of local communities.
and then points out that:
It must work for local communities, with sensible, sustainable design of new projects. And for larger deployments, brownfield land should always be preferred.
You can also read the full text of Greg's speech on the UK Government's web site.
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