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New solar farm proposal for Frome area

MENDIP District Council has received a proposal for a new 25-acre solar farm at Court Farm, West Woodlands, east of the B3092, just south of Frome.

The proposed site is located north-east of West Woodlands, with the top running nearby Seven Acres caravan park and the rest stretching down close to Court Farm. The area is currently used for grazing cattle.

Companies Vogt Solar and Solafields have collaboratively submitted the planning application, estimating that the solar farm could provide enough renewable energy to power 1,600 homes through the National Grid.

In a message sent to Sustainable Frome asking for their support, the companies say, “[The solar farm] would save 2,400 tonnes of CO2 emissions every year.  Whilst energy is being generated, the land will remain in agricultural use and food production, with sheep grazing around and beneath the solar panels.

“Visibility of the solar farm site from the local area is very limited thanks to mature hedgerows lining the edges of the site. These hedgerows will be reinforced with further native planting.”

According to Vogt Solar and Solafields a typical solar farm takes 8 to 12 weeks to build. The likely delivery route during construction will be directly off the B3092, using the existing access to Court Farm. Two-metre high light mesh fencing will be erected to secure the site, foundations will be laid and all the necessary technology will be brought in and installed. Once completed the companies say the solar farm will “sit there like a quiet neighbour.”

The proposers also insist that biodiversity will be affected positively saying, “There are many biodiversity benefits associated with the solar farm – the land beneath and around the arrays will be sown with species rich grass and wildflowers will flourish, in turn attracting insects, birds and small mammals. Hedgehog homes and bird and bat boxes will be installed.

“A community benefit fund will be established should planning permission be received. This is likely to offer at least £40,000 to local projects and initiatives, preferably related to renewable energy or energy efficiency.”

Mendip District Council will consider the planning application.