Whaddon Farm
Solar Park

Hilperton, Wiltshire

Introducing Whaddon Farm Solar Park

INRG Solar Ltd are proposing to develop a renewable led scheme on a site adjacent to Whaddon Farm, Whaddon Lane, Hilperton Wiltshire. The site adjacent to Whaddon Farm is approximately 1km northeast of Trowbridge and 0.5km south west of the town of Holt and comprises approximately 37 hectares of Grade 3b and Grade 3a agricultural land extending west of Whaddon Lane and north of the Kennet and Avon Canal.

 

The site was carefully selected through our development process ensuring that it met INRG Solar’s criteria including: a viable grid connection nearby with capacity of accepting the power generated; being a site which compares favourably in terms of planning designations; and a willing landowner.

 

The purpose of this pre-application public consultation is to seek community feedback prior to the submission of a detailed planning application to Wiltshire Council. INRG solar is kindly asking that people review the website and let us know your thoughts on the project.

 

Who We Are

INRG Solar Ltd was set up in 2009 to develop large scale solar PV projects throughout Europe and has quickly built up one of the largest portfolios of solar parks in the UK.

 

INRG Solar Ltd is continuing to develop its global investment portfolio by focusing primarily on solar parks in the UK and is looking to continue the momentum in delivering solar schemes to meet the increasing demand for renewable energy both locally and nationally across the UK. The proposals for Whaddon Farm Solar Park forms part of INRG Solar’s wider commitments to meeting the increasing demands for renewable energy and reducing local carbon emissions and will secure the equivalent electricity demand for approximately 6,800 local homes per year. 

 

It is widely recognised that to achieve both local and national carbon reduction targets, significant investment is required into the rapid deployment of proven renewable and low carbon energy technologies, such as solar power and energy storage, to decarbonise the energy sector. INRG’s proposals at Whaddon Farm provide significant support towards meeting these targets and in particular will provide a significant contribution towards achieving Wiltshire Council’s own Climate Emergency commitments to pursuing carbon neutrality by 2030.

 
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Where is Whaddon Farm Solar Park?

The site extends to approximately 37 hectares and is classified as a mix of Grade 3b (24ha) and Grade 3a (13ha) agricultural land to the West of Whaddon Farm and Whaddon Lane. The site is bound by further agricultural land to the east and the existing Marsh Farm Solar Park to the west. To the north runs the River Avon, approximately 50m from the closest point on the northern site boundary, with the Kennet and Avon Canal running east to west approximately 50m from the closest point on the southern site boundary. The entire layout of the PV arrays will be located within the administrative area of Wiltshire Council and is not located in the Green Belt.

 

The land is divided into eight separate fields. The fields are generally separated by hedgerow and some tree planting with more significant tree and hedgerow planting bordering the site on the south western, southern, and south eastern borders, all of which will be retained and enhanced as part of the proposal. Further natural screening is afforded to the site by mature tree and hedgerow planting along the southern edge of the River Avon to the north of the site. 

 

The nearest residential dwelling is in Whaddon, c. 400m from the site. The linear settlement of Whaddon contains a limited number of residential properties, whilst more heavily populated residential areas such as Holt and Hilperton are located within 1km of the site. There are also a number of dispersed farmsteads in the area. 

 

There are no Public Rights of Way (PRoW) running through the site. A public right of way (known as HILP31) adjacent to the River Avon abuts the site’s northern hedgerow boundary whilst a further Public Right of Way (known as HILP18) is also situated alongside the Kennet and Avon Canal, located south of the site. Both public rights of way will remain unaffected by the development proposals and will be accessible throughout the life span of the of the development.

 
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The Proposed Development

The proposal consists of the construction, operation, maintenance and decommissioning of a ground mounted solar farm with a maximum export capacity of up to 25 megawatts, together with up to 18MW of battery storage, laid out across various field enclosures across the site. 

 

The photovoltaic panels would be laid out in straight arrays set at an angle of around 10 to 35 degrees from east to west across the field enclosures. The distance between the arrays would respond to topography but would typically be between 3.5 metres to 6 metres. The top northern edges of the panels would be approximately 2.5 metres above ground level and the south lower edges of the panels would be no less than 0.7 metres above ground level to allow sufficient room beneath the panels to accommodate the grazing of the land by sheep. The arrays would be static.

 

The application proposal would also include a package of landscape, ecological and biodiversity benefits that could include the installation of barn owl boxes, bird nesting boxes, bee hives, log piles, restoration of traditional field boundaries, and other hibernacula. Land between and beneath the panels can be used for biodiversity enhancements and seasonal grazing. Existing hedgerows surrounding the site would be bolstered with additional hedgerow and tree planting. The new hedgerows would deliver biodiversity enhancements by providing green ecological corridors.

 

The proposed development has a life of at least 40 years, after which the modules would be decommissioned and removed from the site.

 

The proposed development will be accessed via an existing field gateway off Whaddon Lane near Whaddon Kennels and via a track through Whaddon Farmyard. A parcel of land to the south of the bridge on Whaddon Lane is proposed to be used as a delivery depot for deliveries of plant and materials to the site during the construction phase. Deliveries arriving to the delivery depot will be broken down into individual items to be then distributed to the main site using tractors and trailers and other smaller vehicles.

 

The arrays would be set within a 2.0m high stock-proof fence. The security measures that will accompany the scheme include CCTV.

 

The majority of the site lies in Flood Zone 1, an area least at risk of flooding, however northern parts of the site are located on land designated as Flood Zones 2 and 3. The proposed development will be designed to avoid the areas of the site that are susceptible to flooding, therefore all of the proposed PV panels and site infrastructure will be located outside of areas of high flood risk within the site boundary.

 

Benefits of Whaddon Farm Solar Park

Significant levels of annual income will be generated for Wiltshire to invest in local services over the projected lifespan of the solar park.

Whaddon Farm Solar Park will not require Government subsidies. Solar is one of the most cost-effective sources of electricity in the UK.

The development proposals could provide clean energy into the local power network to support local homes and businesses and would provide the equivalent electricity demand for up to approximately 6,800 local homes per year.*

Whaddon Farm Solar Park would save annually approximately 9,600 tonnes of CO2 emissions.*

Wiltshire Council have adopted far reaching targets for carbon reduction. The proposed development would provide security of supply in the Wiltshire Area through more local decentralised renewable energy generation and will assist Wiltshire Council in their commitment to reducing carbon emissions.

The proposed development will also incorporate a battery storage facility. Solar power can be stored through battery storage, distributing power to the grid when demand is greatest.

The development proposals will include a number of biodiversity improvements, including the retention and enhancement of existing field boundaries, incorporating new tree and hedgerow planting where appropriate, and wildflower meadow seeding across the land between the proposed arrays. Overall a net biodiversity gain is anticipated across the site.

There will be no loss of agricultural land at the site; as sheep will continue to graze the grass within the solar park.

Project Timeline

Finalising baseline surveys & EIA Screening Opinion Request submitted to Wiltshire Council

Review Community Consultation and prepare Planning Application

Decision on Application

December 2020

Early January 2021

Late January 2021

Winter-Spring 2021

Spring 2021

2022

Consult with Local Community

Decision by Summer 2021. Application considered by Wiltshire Council

Construction and Operation (6 months)

 
 

Have Your Say

INRG Solar Ltd is proposing to submit a full planning application for Whaddon Farm Solar Park to Wiltshire Council in the coming months. 

 

Before a formal planning application is submitted, INRG Solar Ltd is committed to ensuring that the community around the development proposal are informed and fully understand the plans for the project. We are therefore holding a community consultation on the proposal, ending 22nd January 2021. This gives you the opportunity to view the proposals and submit your comments and feedback. 

 

You can provide feedback by completing the online form. Alternatively, you can provide comments through our project email address, postal address or call a member of the Project Team using our telephone line. Details of these can be found below. 

 

All of the feedback received before this date will be considered by the Project Team and suggestions will be incorporated into the scheme where appropriate.

email

address

Whaddon Farm Solar Park,
C/O Pegasus Group,
First Floor, South Wing,
Equinox North, Great Park Road,
Almondsbury, Bristol, BS32 4QL

phone

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