Initial plans for the project, which will be determined by South Gloucestershire Council’s planning committee, were presented at a public exhibition held in July 2022 to enable people to find out more about the proposal and provide RES with their views. All feedback received during the consultation has been considered by the project team alongside information gathered from a number of detailed technical and environmental surveys in order to inform the final design.
As a result of the detailed design process, a number of changes have been made to the design to ensure the solar farm fits sensitively into the existing landscape, whilst maximising the low carbon, low cost electricity generation. Changes made include siting infrastructure further away from residential properties, and increasing the hedgerow height in areas to reduce potential visibility. Furthermore, in response to consultation feedback, RES has undertaken a comprehensive review of all potential access routes and has proposed a solution to minimise any potential impact on the local road network from HGV delivery traffic.
“This particular site has been chosen as it has good solar irradiation levels, lies outside of any statutory environmental, archaeological and landscape designations and due to its proximity to a viable grid connection” said Bertrand Devossel, Development Project Manager at RES. “We hope that South Gloucestershire will agree that Varley Solar Farm is in an optimum position to help tackle climate change and is a crucial step forward if the country is to meet the UK’s target of net zero by 2050.”
If consented, Varley Solar Farm would be capable of producing clean, green electricity for approximately 9,700 homes every year. It will also deliver an estimated £80,000 in business rates annually to fund vital local services.
The proposal also has the potential to deliver a biodiversity net gain through measures such as the planting of native trees and over 1km of new species-rich hedgerows in addition to the installation of bird and bat boxes, hedgehog houses, reptile hibernacula and invertebrate hotels.
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