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Energy firm submits planning application for huge solar farm

The company hoping to set up a huge solar energy farm on the outskirts of Driffield has formally applied for planning permission for the project.

London-based Elgin Energy announced earlier this year that it wanted to install and operate a renewable energy generating station off the A164 Beverley Road at Sunderlandwick.

It said it wanted to gauge public opinion about the plans before starting the planning process and its application says the company believe the ratio of support to opposition was around 70:30.

Sunderlandwick Solar Farm

After revealing its plans for the 76.38-hectare site, the company held a public consultation event in Driffield in June, set up a website to gather feedback and contacted key stakeholders including parish councils, ward councillors and community groups.

The planning application to East Riding of Yorkshire Council is made up of around 80 documents, including photographs and plans of the site, assessments into ecology, transport and biodiversity and results of the public feedback.

It says: “The consultation benefited from good engagement from the public, with 60 questionnaires returned providing 23 (38 per cent) very supportive comments, 16 (27 per cent) supportive comments, 12 (20 per cent) undecided comments, four (seven per cent) opposed comments and five (eight per cent) very opposed comments.

“The overall stance on the proposed development therefore is supportive.”

Elgin Energy was established in 2009 and runs 21 projects in the UK, providing the equivalent of 75,000 homes with clean energy annually.

In its application to East Riding Council regarding its plans for Driffield, it says: “The proposed development will provide a reliable source of clean renewable energy which will be supplied to domestic and commercial consumers via the District Network Operator grid network.”

“The expected annual output is enough clean electricity to meet the electricity demand of approximately 12,000 average family homes, with the expectation that this will increase as households also become more energy efficient.”

Elgin says it is ‘committed to public engagement and rely on local inputs to help deliver acceptable, high quality solar projects’.

It confirmed it will ‘continue to engage with local residents, community groups and other stakeholders for the duration of the process’.

The planning application sees the company address the issues which were raised most commonly through the consultation, including construction traffic, environmental impact and wildlife concerns.

It claims that ‘rows of solar panels are not necessarily unattractive and public attitudes with respect to the climate change imperative has led to an increasingly positive perception of the presence of clean energy technology in the landscape’.

“Every effort has been taken in the design of the proposed development to avoid unacceptable environmental and amenity effects, whilst ensuring that the project can make a considerable contribution to the UK’s requirement for renewable energy generation.

“It is considered that the scheme layout, design and well-contained location will not have an unacceptable adverse effect on the local environment or the visual or amenity value of the local environment nor the wider area.”

The public can comment on the planning application on the East Riding of Yorkshire Council website. The application is 22/02460/STPLF.

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