Community invited to find out more about plans for solar farm

Revised plans to develop a solar farm in the east Dorset village of Mapperton are to be submitted to East Dorset District Council at the end of this month. 100% renewable energy supply and generation company Good Energy is keen to share the new plans with local people and explain what’s changed since its last application.

Residents can come and see the plans for themselves at either Winterborne Zelston Village Hall on Wednesday, February 25th between 3pm-7.30pm or Sturminster Marshall Memorial Hall on Thursday, February 26th between 3pm – 7.30pm.

There will be a chance to ask questions and discover more about the company’s new ideas for a package of community benefits.

“We’ve listened to feedback from our previous application and the new plans are for a considerably smaller development, across just three fields – a reduction of almost 40%,” said Good Energy’s Hugo House. This would mean the 24MW solar farm would occupy just 106 acres – not 176 acres as originally designed.

New community benefits are also being proposed and Good Energy would welcome feedback on these – including the potential for offering a local electricity tariff for locals and the chance for residents to have a financial stake in the scheme.

These are in addition to the annual £25,000 community fund for local parishes that has already been pledged by Good Energy.

Added Hugo: “We hope as many local people as possible will come along and see for themselves what we’re now proposing.

“We have listened to feedback and have been able to decrease the site size whilst still generating a significant amount of renewable electricity.

“This is a great opportunity to ask any questions about the project and learn how the community can benefit.”

If approved, the farm would generate enough clean electricity to supply 6000 homes, making a valuable contribution towards meeting Dorset’s renewable energy targets and enhancing Britain's energy security.

The plans will also include creating wildflower meadows using Dorset seeds and the land will be maintained through sheep grazing by local farmers.

To view the revised plans and find out more about the community benefits go to: http://www.goodenergy.co.uk/dorsetsolar/mapperton-farm

 

Notes to editors:

A previous planning application for a solar farm at Mapperton was approved in 2013. It was then subject to a judicial review as a result of a procedural planning matter and consent was subsequently revoked.

In 2014, Good Energy carried out an environmental screening of the site following a request from East Dorset District Council. Following the survey work, and acting on feedback from previous public consultations, Good Energy revised its original plans.

Good Energy has carried out full and detailed consultation with the local community and other consultees including the Environment Agency, National Farmers Union and Dorset Wildlife Trust. Following submission, East Dorset Council will consult on the proposals with a wide range of statutory consultees as part of the planning process.

 

The plans include:

  • 90,000 solar panels installed on ground-mounted solar PV arrays standing 2.7 metres high, across three fields with a total area of 44 hectares (106 acres).
  • Arrays arranged in rows at least six metres apart to enable sheep to graze.
  • Deer fencing 2.4 metres high surrounding the solar panels with gaps at the bottom to allow small mammals to pass.
  • Planting of new wildflower meadows and grassland to encourage pollinating insects (such as bumble bees and butterflies), small mammals and ground-nesting or foraging birds.
  • Improvements to hedgerows using native species, and installation of purpose-built habitats such as bird and bat boxes and refuges for small mammals (e.g. hedgehogs), to provide safe haven for a rich variety of wildlife.
  • All components of the solar farm will be removed at the end of the project lifetime with the majority of materials recycled, and site returned to current use.

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