Parish Clerk

Public Consultation - proposed Solar Farm Rhosygadfa

208 posts in this topic

On Saturday the Parish Council received a letter notifying us of a public exhibition for a Proposed Solar PV development (more commonly known as a solar farm) on Land at Ebnal Lodge Rhosygadfa SY107BL. The site extends to 78 acres

 

The exhibition  will be held in the St Martins Centre from 4.30 - 7pm on Wednesday 16th July (this  Wednesday)

please note the proposals are not in St Martins Parish only Selattyn and Gobowen and Whittington Parishes.

 

 

It is anticipated that a full planning application will be submitted by the end of July.

 

Selattyn and Gobowen PC will probably consider this application at the September meeting of the council.

 

To ensure that residents are aware of the consultation session as to my knowledge no notices have been put up to promote the exhibition please can you spread the word to ensure as many people as possible attend.

 

thank you

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wow, a 78 acre site..... will that all be filled with the solar farm?  Who benefits from the generated energy? 

 

Is anyone going along to the consultation?  I can't make it.

 

I also saw an article somewhere where they had developed a more efficient PV collector in Austrailia.  I will see if I can find it.

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I intend to go and have a look if I get the time. I do wonder if this is anything to do with anti-fracking in some way.

 

I notice "Stans" are getting their store roof covered in solar panels.

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I have some information regarding this development:

 

The company is called Elgin Energy EsCo Ltd and they want to use 78 acres of land owned by Farmer Evans at Ebnal to construct a solar panel electricity generating farm.

 

Each solar panel is approx. 1.6m x 1m x 0.05m. The panels will be static. The site will be fenced by 2m to 2.2m high with gates and CCTV monitored. This development is not at the planning permission stage yet. Construction is expected to take between 3 and 4 months. The development is subsidy driven. The project has a lifespan of 25 years. There will be minimum staff on site following construction.

 

I was at the presentation for approx. 20 minutes and spoke to and heard a few people who hadn't been contacted about the potential development, and one who had received notification by post.

 

I offered to publish the main bullet points about the development on this site in order to give it a little publicity, but their response was that "they rather I didn't".

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So they have a 'public consultation' which isn't very publicised and then they would rather you didn't mention the main points of the meeting.

 

hmmmmm

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78 acres is huge!  Wish I had gone along to the public 'consultation'.  NB I don't think all these developers etc use the same meaning of the word 'consultation' as the rest of us do; they are not interested in anyone else's opinion usually. 

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It wasn't a meeting, just a drop in affair with reps from the company and a number of tables displaying maps and material about the company. A number of photos were on display, including one of sheep walking on grass between the solar panels. The reps were a bit...young.

 

People could ask questions. There were leaflets on display that could be taken away. You could log your details onto a list to get further updates.

 

I take your point about it being a "consultation", though. There would have been very little expense incurred by getting flyers delivered to ever home in Ednal.

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Why the rush and secrecy?  The following are some of my observations/views/questions.

Will be interested to see if they will advertise another presentation.

Hopefully far more comprehensive relative to the specific project and that our Parish Council will allow more time for public debate at their next meeting for such a large project in our area.

 

Projected lifespan of project is 25 years (suspect to could be extended up to 40 years)

Government subsidies for such projects end next April

Projects should be limited to low grade agricultural land

Land owners have been encouraged to switch to ‘Solar Farming’ as they could earn up to £1000 per acre per annum

Virtually no benefit to local community

CCTV will be installed

Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) want to encourage development of smaller scale and community energy production.

Aboveground installations should be promoted ahead of ground installations

No Government subsidies should be granted on ground installations above 5MW (25 acres)

Could eventually expand to ‘Solar Cities’!

Could be as high as 3 mtrs or more to allow for grazing?

More information needed on how sites are connected to the National grid (above ground cables?)

Elgin Energy to talk to Parish Clerk (Mrs. O’Hagan) in mid August – should insist on comprehensive presentation specifically about this project in Pavilion BEFORE Council Meeting on 10th September, and more time set aside for public discussion.

Effect on welfare and safety of wildlife including birds of prey and migratory birds.

What tests have been carried out for Electro Magnetic Radiation/Emissions on the equipment used in the installation?

One of our Councillors (David G. Lloyd) is on the County Planning Committee.

Article in Border Advertizser 30th August 2014

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Please note that there is no planned meeting with the Parish Clerk and Elgin Energy during mid August. I have however urged the applicants to hold another drop in event to be in Gobowen and have offered the pavilion as a venue, but I have not heard from the applicants whether they intend to hold another session.

 

It should also be noted that to date no application has actually been submitted.

 

Elgin Energy have indicated that they will attend the next Parish Council meeting to be held on Wednesday 10th September at 7pm in Gobowen Pavilion, this meeting will have a public participation session and is open to residents. It is my understanding that as this is such a large application there consultation period will be extended beyone the usual 6 week period.

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Has anyone heard if Elgin Energy are going to hold an exhibition in the Pavilion for the proposed installation?

Surely for such an important, large project, public awareness is paramount. Maybe the Council could subsidise the hiring of the Pavilion for a day?

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Elgin Energy expressed an interest in attending the next Parish council meeting on 10.9.14. This meeting is open to the public and the issue of the need for another exhibition can be raised then. However despite prompting, I have not heard from them since this July so cannot confirm that they are attending

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75 acres is a substantial site and also in one of the most beautiful rural areas of our county.   We are losing a lot of our wonderful natural countryside heritage to industry and I feel that this development might yet be another "nail in the coffin" for its preservation and unlikely to benefit the local area in any way.

 

I most sincerely hope that the Council will publish full details of the meeting in order that local people may become more fully acquainted with the proposals.

Edited by Robmit

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It will not be the Parish Council's responsibility to promote this meeting as it will not be a parish council meeting and will be organised by the developers, however when we receive the information we will do all we can to promote the event to ensure that as many people as possible are aware of it.

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Details of new information evening to discuss the proposals for a solar farm at  Ebnal Lodge

 

Tuesday 24th September

Gobowen Pavilion

St Martins Road

 

17.30-19.00

 

All welcome

please note this is not a parish council meeting it is an information session organised by Elgin Energy

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This is an extract from the Shropshir Star :

 

David Meehan, for Elgin Energy EsCo Ltd, said: “We can confirm that we are committed to paying a one-off community contribution to Selattyn and Gobowen Parish Council upon successful completion of the project. The details are  £4,000 will be paid per megawatt peak (MWp) installed, for example the total payment would be £60,000 for a 15MWp installation, and payment will be made 30 days after the project is Ofgem accredited. We are also making an offer to Whittington Parish Council.”

 

Very nice, but who negotiated this deal? Is there a hint of pressure here to get the project approved?

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I echo the comments of Bethan above plus:-

 

Irrespective of the amount of the financial offer the consideration should be whether or not this proposed development would have any detrimental effect on the environment from all aspects including visual.   It could also, if approved, start a chain of applications for similar developments which would not enhance our beautiful local scenery.

 

I certainly like the idea of non-polluting energy but not at the expense of ruining our local countryside and there I rest my case; at least until we know more.

 

I'm really disappointed not to be able to attend this meeting and I hope that many others will.   Unfortunately I am obliged to keep a long-standing appointment in Shrewsbury and won't be back until late;  shall look forward to hearing other members' opinions.

Edited by Robmit

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Went to the exhibition at The Pavilion tonight.

 

Disappointing that so few Councillors were there from Sellatyn and Gobowen or Whittington Councils. Would have liked to have seen more Gobowen residents present also as many use the roads around Rhosygadfa, Hindford, St Martins, etc. for walking, riding, running etc.

 

Only some questions were answered. My recallections/points made are as follows :

 

Lifespan of project contracted to 25 years, but panels have lifespan of 30 - 40 years.

Disposal of site materials and returning land to original state not discussed. Elgin (if they are still in existance then) will be responsible.

Government subsidies end in April 2015, Elgin did not know length of consultation period before grant is withdrawn.

Land is registered as grade 3 (as is most of Shropshire!)

78 acres  will be covered with 60,000 panels (largest in Shropshire) and will yield 15 MWp of electricity to the National Grid.

Connection to the grid will be via underground cables near Ebnal Lodge to the grid lines (about 108 meters?)

No Pylons involved.

No trees or hedges to be cut down or uprooted, but their maintenance and by whom over the period of the project not clear.

It is also unclear what the effect would be on the land being in permenant shadow from the panels.  

CCTV cameras will be installed 3 mteres above ground. Who will monitor is unclear.

Sellatyn and Gobowen Parich Council has been offered a 'once only' offer of £60,000 (£4,000 per MWp X 15 MWp) and Whittington Council will probably be offered a similar amount as part of the project is within their district. Elgin regret that this has been published. Whether this is negotiable and with whom on the Parish Councils is not known! Councillors at the exhibition either did not know or were not prepared to say. It is not clear whether the rate of £4,000 per MWp has been offered to other Councils in Shropshire who have been approached for planning concent. There have been projects that have been refused permission.

The controversial, multi-million pound project to erect power lines from Wrexam to Oswestry will cross part of this Solar Farm - yet another 'blot' on the landscape!

 

Parish Council Meetings take place at the Pavillion on the 2nd Wed in the month. Next meeting 8th October?

As it is likely that this project will have been presented by then, and as it is the largest of it's kind in Shropshire, it would be pleasing to hear if they will be prepared to allocate more time than the 15 minutes for Public discussion at this meeting. Afterall, the residents would like to hear what each of their elected members think about this project rather than read the result in the Parish Council Minutes.

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Thank you Bethan for taking the trouble to post this information which I am sure we all appreciate.

 

I very much regret that I was unable to attend this meeting and will most certainly make sure that I attend any in the future.

 

It would be nice if interested members could get together to discuss the proposal further.

 

Kind regards and thanks again.

 

Rob

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According to Owen Paterson MP website, his next Surgery in Oswestry is on Friday 10th October at The Oswestrian, 1 English Walls, Oswestry.

Contact 01978 719973 for more details.

 

Might be worth a visit to see what he knows about the project. He hasn't been very vocal, so far!

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I would just like to clarify a few matters on this item from the Parish Council's perspective.

 

To date the planning application has not yet been validated by Shropshire Council and there is a possibility that it will not be received in time for the October meeting of the Parish Council. The agenda for the October meeting will be published next Thursday morning and if the item is not on the agenda for October it will be discussed at the November 12th meeting.

 

The public participation session is set for a period of 15 minutes but on occasions when there are a large number of people wishing to speak then at the discretion of the chairman the period can be extended.

 

Elgin Energy held a drop in session in July as well as last night and a number of Selattyn and Gobowen Councillors attended this session, some attended both events.

 

The payment that is offered to the Parish Council has not been negotiated and it will not affect the view of the councillors. Currently every planning application for new housing that is considered by the council for comments already includes a community infrastructure levy payment (some of which are significant sums of money) which is given to the Parish Council if  the application is successful. To date a large number of applications for housing in the Parish have been objected to by the Parish Council regardless of how much community infrastructure money is involved. Parish Council comments on these applications can be viewed in our minutes.

 

Please come along to the meeting to put across your points of view, if you would like to clarify any matters prior to the meeting please do get in touch parishclerksg@gmail.com. If you would like to contact any councillors in advance of the meeting then contact details for councillors can be found on our website or in the Parish Roundabout newsletter

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Thanks for your response.

I look forward to reading the agenda. Please confirm that the agenda will indicate the chairman's discretion to increase the Public Consultaion period if this application will be discussed.

As regards to the Community Infrastructure Levy, this is set by the 'Charging Authority'

It reflects the energy output of the plant (MWp) and has no relation to the 'New Housing Levy'

I understand that the various levies are flexible, which suggests they are negotiable.

Did anyone look into this when Elgin Energy made the offer?

It would be interesting to know who is on this Charging Authority.

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Forgot to mention -

 

For all you 'Ramblers' out there :

 

you'll be pleased to note that the Public Footpath through the site will remain. However, it's maintenance and ease of access responsibility over the next 25 years is not clear

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Not having been able to go to the open evening I have no idea where this solar farm extends to.  It sounds pretty big.  My query is, how close to the canal is it? and can it be seen from the canal which crosses an atmospheric area of open ground below the slope up to Ebnal.  

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As I understand the location Maggie, the land in question is that close to Ebnal Hall Farm and if one takes the minor road off the Gobowen to St. Martin's Road (the B5069) to Rhosygadafa on the right hand side towards Whittington, about 1/2 mile down the hill there is a pond with a road towards the canal and Rhosygadafa on the left hand side and Ebnal farm opposite on the right hand side.   The proposed site is on the the farmhouse side of the road but I do not know the exact location.

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