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POLL: Green light for solar farm near Hayle as councillor asks 'how many is too many?'

By CMJohannaCarr  |  Posted: January 23, 2013

Solar Panels

Solar Panels

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"Where does it stop?", is the question being asked by a Hayle councillor after plans to build a new solar farm close to the town were passed by a Cornwall Council committee last week.

Cornwall councillor for Hayle South John Coombe went to strategic planning last Thursday to oppose the proposal to put solar panels on 6.2 hectares of farm land at Wheal Alfred Road.

He spoke on behalf of local residents who objected to the plans by The Green Company (TGC) Renewables.

The application received 16 objections from members of the public

The plans to build a 3.48MWp solar park were passed but with extra constraints including the requirement for landscaped trees and extra furrows for drainage to help prevent possible flooding.

TGC will also provide a grant to the community, which could be used to fund extra screening for the site or for community projects to offset the impact of the development.

The company promised not to go ahead with a second application they had for a larger solar farm opposite this one.

Mr Coombe said: "They promised absolutely emphatically that they would not even consider putting another solar park in that field.

"The neighbours quite naturally would rather have green fields and sheep over solar panels.

"I believe that if the local people did not make a stand then they would have had the field developed opposite as well and it would have been much worse."

But Mr Coombe said although this development would go ahead, there was still time to come up with a concrete policy on future applications.

"The horrific thing was they showed a map showing the number of wind turbines and solar farms with those that are passed and those that are being applied for," he said.

"I think there are 50 or 55 solar farms in the pipeline now for Cornwall. How much do we have until it blights our society?"

TGC is planning to lease the land for the development, which will include the installation of ground based racking systems, mounted solar panels, power inverter stations, transformer stations, sub station, deer and security fencing, as well as associated access gates and CCTV security cameras mounted on free standing support poles.

The site is expected to produce enough renewable energy to power 796 homes each year.

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11 comments

  • Fadcode  |  January 26 2013, 11:49AM

    Im not sure why people wont accept these massive solar farm sites, as they are manufacturing electricity, they must be liable to business rates, and going on the size of these sites they should attract enough rateable value, so that domestic rates in Cornwall can be scrapped, therefore every home in Cornwall will benefit by not having to pay domestic rates anymore, after all every home in Cornwall is subsidising these solar farms, as 25% of our energy bills go to pay the subsidy raised by these solar farms, and lets not forget these solar farms are there to make money not help the community

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  • letigre  |  January 24 2013, 12:47PM

    'Where does it stop?' It doesn't, and it won't until the penny drops that Cornwall is being taken for a ride by these large scale renewables companies. They are running roughshod through the County with little concern or consideration for those striving to make a living here. Whilst the council continues to ignore public concerns then it will just keep going and going. This isn't happening in many other UK counties and it shouldn't be happening here. Given the current status of Kyoto protocol, maybe it's time for a period of analysis on Council's climate and energy policy?

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  • Dantwo  |  January 23 2013, 9:07PM

    Well said Cknocker. These are just money making projects that have nothing to do with 'green' energy or cutting carbon emissions. The country making tmost of these pv panels, China, is building coal fired power stations as fast as it can. The Chinese are too clever to try and provide power to their own manufacturing companies with expensive 'green' energy. They leave that sort of thing to the idiots who run this country. Which is why what little manufacturing we currently do will be reduced still further in the coming years. Meanwhile the usual list of suspects keep churning out warnings about global warming and the need to introduce even more bird-mincers and solar farms in Cornwall. It is madness, aided and abetted by Cornwall Council.

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  • Cknocker  |  January 23 2013, 7:54PM

    @ Cottagefarmorganics: - 1. PV - Needs a massive land area, this is going to increase food scarcity as well as the environmental damage from production, construction and disposal - dependent on sunlight, whic cannot be ordered to suit demand. 2. Wind - no real issue for me, other than mass objection to get through. Again reliability of power production is a major issue. 3. AD - A good idea, however there is limited potential. 4. Pump Storage - Will not work - why? You need a high level from which to let the water flow (Hydraulic Head) the water level in all the clay pits is roughly at the same level! None of this helps Cornwall's reliance on energy from outside of the county as we still need grid connections capable of providing full load when conditions aren't right.

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  • yveyk  |  January 23 2013, 7:51PM

    I'm afraid that Cottage Farm Organics are living in cloud cookoo land. More people are not buying organic because of the financial climate. Premium goods like organic products are priced out of the range of many families in Cornwall and Devon who are already relying on Food Banks. Unless you can make your product more competitive, you will find a shrinking market. If we keep turning food land over to energy production, we will be even worse off with just a few getting richer but not producing food. It is even harder for those on limited incomes, the energy prices are not going to fall even with renewables, so no point in putting in more solar panels, they have short shelf life and add to the polution and if they continue to 'burn' off surplus, just add to global warming. We need Waste to Energy plants as we're running out of land fill really quickly now, particularly in Cornwall and Devon. I had a look at the site in Plymouth today, and why people are worrying about the view, when they can see the dock yard already I don't know. This is a necessity to prevent more waste crossing the Tamar into Lean Quarry.

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  • Cknocker  |  January 23 2013, 7:19PM

    So whoever put a red arrow on my comment, how about you come on here and tell us all why you disliked it? At the end of the day there is nothing in my comment other than FACT, not opinion!

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  • Cottage Farm Organics  |  January 23 2013, 7:17PM

    Great, Cornwall is another step closer to resilience in energy. But we have some way to go. We need about the same amount of power from PV panels and from wind turbines, plus AD to process food and other waste, plus pumped storage in the china clay area to store energy for peaks.

    Rate   -3
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  • yveyk  |  January 23 2013, 6:56PM

    The government objects to further solar farm developments on green field sites. So do lots of other people. Someone is lining their community pockets with bribes that are guaranteeing consent where it should not be given. This is a scandal. NO MORE SOLAR farms on green field sites where the land is suitable for food production. This is change of use to industrial and really should have a public enquiry before developements of this kind. I don't mind windmills they can still have food production below them and animals can graze there. Solar panels have a limited life and are wasting resourses by using them. Overall, the benefit negated by the polution disposal of these and the resourses used for making them. I am disgusted at Cornwall council who have no scruples.

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  • Cknocker  |  January 23 2013, 6:41PM

    Just one thing TheGeofflane, there are several of these large scale solar farms in the county already built and approximately 14 more currently under construction to be completed by March 31st. Why don't you go around them all (I'll get you the locations if you like) and tell us all how many sheep are grazing underneath them? I can save you the time if you prefer and tell you its precisely NONE! Why is this? 1. Nobody but the solar companies staff are allowed on the site - so the farmer can't look after is sheep. 2. There are exposed wires - The solar companies don't want the sheep damaging the wires. 3. The edges of the table structures are sharp cold rolled steel - a serious risk of injury to the sheep. 4. There are movement detecting alarm systems in the sites - the sheep will set them off! 5. The solar panels prevent light getting to the grass, limiting growth. Unfortunately this was a myth pedalled in the early days in order to gain planning permission. The council want to cover 8 square miles of the county covered in these things, capable generating 3 times what the county needs when the sun shines, but not a sausage when it doesn't -and that doesn't include for the new pylons and substations that are going to be required. In case you think the companies are doing this for the good of the planet, think again - there is at least one company that has looked into installing more capacity than the grid can take from them - in order to maximise their income they want to install the higher level of generation and install load banks (Essentially giant heaters) to burn off the excess electricity - the crazy thing of this system is the payment is not only for what is fed into the grid, but there is payment for the amount generated - so essentially you and I will be paying these companies to heat the atmosphere!

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  • nick113  |  January 23 2013, 2:41PM

    Perhaps the owner of the land should have started a pig farm; that would have given the neighbours something to think about.

    Rate   -10
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