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Public Consultation - proposed Solar Farm Rhosygadfa

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Plans have been submitted by SP Energy and approved for a 132kV electricity line (approx 13 miles overhead and 3 miles underground) between Legacy (Wrexham) to Oswestry. This is expected to be completed by Summer 2015. The cost is approx. £22,000,000 and is sufficient to supply electricity to 130,000 homes in Shropshire/Mid Wales. It's route goes very close to Rhosygadfa.

 

The Solar Farm at Rhosygadfa(78 Acres with 60,000 panels) will generate sufficient electricity for approx 4000 homes. Although the cost has not been published, is it reasonable to assume that it will be substantially greater than the new line from Wrexham to Oswestry.

 

My assumption is based on the following article in the Shropshire Star 16th Sept 2014

 

“Contractors are expected to move on to the site at Wheat Leasows in Hadley this week to start building the commercial-scale 4MW capacity solar farm.

It is hoped energy could be produced from November. It comes as Telford & Wrekin Council’s cabinet prepares to discuss ways it can make money from the solar farm at a meeting on Thursday.

IZEN energy systems was awarded the contract to build the solar farm earlier this month. More than 15,000 solar panels will be installed and should generate enough energy to power more than 800 homes.

A financial model shows the council expects to make more than £13.6 million over the planned 25-year life time of the farm while more than £9.2 million will be spent, including financing costs – a surplus of £4.41 million.

The money would be poured into services for elderly and young people and the environment, according to council chiefs”

 

If a 15,000-panel installation in Telford involves a spend of £9.2 million, then a 60,000-panel installation in Rhosygadfa could be nearly four times as much (say £36 million).

 

Where is the logic in spending £22 million for supplying electricity to 130,000 homes from an overland line

and £36 million for 4,000 homes from a Solar Farm!!!

 

We’ll never get our National Debt down at this rate!!!

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Thank you for your informative comments Bethan.    Assuming that the figures are roughly correct there seems no logic whatsoever in spending such a huge sum on solar panels at Rhosygadfa if the new line from Wrexham to Oswestry will do the job.   This, of course, does depend on where the power is produced in the first place rather than the distribution line, and the real consideration here should be how the power is produced i.e., by green energy or polluting fossil fuels.

 

I think that everyone is keen on green energy but not at the cost of desecrating our beautiful countryside when the capital cost could be better spent by making generous financial contributions to private homes for roof-top panels and, of course, using brown-field and disused industrial land for solar panels.

 

I fear that the National Debt is not a priority here but profit at the cost of desecrating our beautiful countryside which once ruined can never be reinstated in our lifetimes.

 

I have sent my own objection to: Shropshire Council planning website application number 14/03946/FUL and I hope many others will do the same if they care about our heritage as much as I do.   There is little time left to object in view of the Council considering the application so early on the 28th October.

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Selattyn and Gobowen Parish Council will be holding a special meeting to consider the solar farm application at Rhosygadfa number 14/03946/FUL on Thursday 20th November at 7pm in the Pavilion, Gobowen Playing Field, St Martins Road. I can confirm that the time set aside for public participation will be extended from the usual 15 minutes.

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I whole-heartedly agree, Robmit – but it just goes to show how short-sighted the planners are!

I’d like to think that a substantial amount of the electricity supplied to Wrexham is generated by the wind farms that are already operational. They are not a pretty site either, and we also have to bear in mind that the majority of Solar Panels are manufactured in China. We all know their reputation on pollution.

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Maybe more gov. money should be spent in developing British innovations such as the one mentioned by Lee Barnfield further up this thread.  THAT would be a local innovation and its develpment support local workers etc. and also be good for the environment.

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Please excuse my ignorance with regard to the proposed Solar Farm in Rhosygdfa, I have been reading the previous correspondence and feel slightly bemused about the benefits for the local community?

I was also very concerned (as a neutral) about the money Elgin Energy is proposing to 'donate' to the parish councils (Gobowen and Whittington), if it is such a good idea for the good and benefit of us all and indeed the rest of the world then why offer any money at all? I have spent some time in Africa in my earlier years and this could have been seen as a 'bribe' to try and sway the decision. Although, I can understand what the parish clerk was saying about it not being part of the decision making process. I am convinced it will make a difference however much it is denied. Please don't think I am a cynic im just a realist.

I will read on in the etrail that precedes this message, so please expect some more interesting comments as the plot thickens!

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On further investigation I can now see why this type of development is not seen as correct in this area. I have lived in lots of areas in the UK and Shropshire can be classed as one of the most beautiful counties in the country, with its green and pleasant rolling hills and magnificent farming heritage. Surely the councillors can be a bit more patriotic about what most of us take for granted but only realise what a fantastic thing it is when it is gone. As a neutral, I would like to try and persuade any councillors to do the right thing and save our landscape for future generations and not give in to targets set by people who don't live in the parish.

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Hi again, I have nearly got all of the way through the previous messages but before I finished reading I feel I need to post this message while I am still catching my breath!! Bethan has been very forthcoming with some very valuable information, I was astounded when I read how much money the farmer was looking to receive!! Hence the lack of breath!! I think he was referred to earlier as Mr Evans at Ebnal Lodge Farm (I think?). I am not a mathematician, but my quick calculations without taking into consideration VAT or Tax, for each year works out at £78,000. Over the 25 years of the projects proposed life span Mr Evans would receive 1.95 Million pound!!

Elgin Energy is offering 60k each to the councils as a sweetener, and the residents are receiving nothing but an eyesore in their back gardens.

Please tell me that Bethan has got the facts wrong, I can't see that as being morally or ethically correct.

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I think that the solar farm is a great idea. People are going to have to come to terms that these renewable energy sources have to be put somewhere. I walk around the lanes with my son and see no problem with it.  Fossil fuels are not going to last forever so we are going to need an alternative.

Have you actually walked past the proposed site?   Do you live anywhere near it?   I also am all for green energy but not on beautiful arable green farmland.   There are alternative methods of producing energy other than ruining our heritage  i.e., installation of panels on roof tops and the use of brown-field and disused industrial sites.

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Interesting comments by Liam, I wonder if he has solar panels in his back garden? Perhaps you could post a picture of them online Liam to show us all what the fuss is about or not as the case maybe?

I am quite chuffed that my profile has been viewed by leebarnfield, I wasn't too sure I would get any views at all.

I have been researching some of the Kyoto agreement 'stuff' that the UK government have signed up to and tried to put a few things into context, please see below some stark comparisons:

1. The UK has 17 Coal fired power station plants.

1. a. China has 620!!

2. The UK has not planned to build any more in the future.

2. a. China builds 3 more a week!!

3. The UK has 46 coal mines

3. a. China has 18,557!!

I really think our green energy policy need to be addressed as a country and we all should be realistic about what this solar farm will achieve in Rhosygadfa, apart from making a few individuals very rich. Let's not think we are making a difference in the fight against global warming, especially when other countries are simply disregarding any protocols thought up in Kyoto.

Keep England's green and pleasant land as it should be, i.e. not covered in large metal boxes for the next quarter of a century!!

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Robmit, I live in Gobowen and as mentioned I walk down past the proposed site regularly.

DJ Fresh, If I could afford solar panels I would have them. Also a correct facing roof or garden would also be needed.

So what about the farmer if they have no alternative to make money? If they can't earn a living using their land?

At one point or another people are going to have to realise that we need to have solar and other renewable energy sources and people are going to have to accept that seeing these things in our daily lives is the future of energy.

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There are many many (hundreds of thousands) of correct facing roof tops and gardens throughout the country so that would not be a problem if sufficient grants were to be made available.

 

The fact that I also walk past the proposed site regularly is of little importance to the vast majority of country loving people.

 

I do know that some small tenant farmers are struggling these days but I don't know of one farmer in this area who is suffering judging by the farm traffic that passes my door nearly every day and also the luxury cars that they all run.

 

I think people do realize that we need solar and other renewable energy sources but they should be placed in the appropriate places not in the centre of beautiful countryside when there are plenty of brown field and industrial sites available in many parts of the county.

 

It is all a matter of proper management.

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Liam, thanks for your interaction, you have brought up a very interesting point about the suitability of some locations for panels like your garden. Perhaps you could use some of the information in the application for the Solar Farm in Rhosygdfa as guidance, they have suggested to raise up the panels to approximately 2 meters to gain full solar capture. Could that be an option for your garden when you have enough money to fund them?

In addition to the comments on inefficiency of land useage, I'm not too sure if the farmer (Mr Michael Evans I think!) is as poor as you might think. An application for additional livestock buildings in Ebnal Lodge Farm has been applied for and is minuted in the previous agenda for the Parish Council. I'm sure these are not cheap to build and cost large amounts of money.

I wonder if somebody who drives around in a Jaguar is really as skint as you may think - hardly on the bread line!! I wish I could afford a nice car rather than my push bike!!

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Hi Bethan,   I have the same result; "all documents are unavailable."    I tried the site to check on another application for a friend and had the same result so I guess they site takes the weekend off!     Fingers crossed that the application has been withdrawn but we shall have to be patient until Monday.

 

Have a nice weekend.

 

Rob

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DJ Fresh, I never raised any points regarding the farmers wealth. Even if they are driving around in a Jaguar what difference does that make to their application??.

Regards to your comments about putting solar panels 2m high in my garden, If I wanted Solar panels on my land I would have them however I like the same with the current application. It is their land and so if they deem that solar panels are the best use of the land then that is their decision.

Would I rather them be elsewhere like everyone else, sure I would. But if the farmer has the choice between the solar farm or nothing at all then surely who are we to stop them?. Regardless of their wealth everyone needs to make money.

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Liam,

I hope I havent upset you, your comments above seem a bit rushed as if you are angry? Just to try and refresh your memory I have used slices of your posts to help answer your questions.

Liam: So what about the farmer if they have no alternative to make money? If they can't earn a living using their land?

He has had crops on the land all summer and in previous years, so needing an alternative is a bit undermined. Crops are sold, farmer makes money. Simple! If they did not provide a living then why are the planting in the first place?

You did mention the farmers financial situation as you can see above, it was a little while ago so you might have forgot what you posted. It makes no difference what so ever what car they drive but saying he is not earning a living from his land is an awful statement. Of course he is earning a living and a good one at that!!

Do you think the farmer is not earning money from his land? If so you are much mistaken, he recently applied for additional agricultural buildings (which are not cheap) and has his roofs full of solar panels which provide and annual income for doing very little.

Liam please tell me that I am not missing something, if being able to afford all these luxuries means you are struggling to make ends meet then I am obviously in the wrong job.

Please offer some more guidance if you can Liam, as I thought the rush for the Solar Farm was to ensure the government subsidies where received? Please confirm.

Unfortunatly the farmer can't just do what he wants with his land, if that where the case then he should just crack on with the panel installation. He does need permission as you hopefully know and understand.

I'm glad you have now admitted to wanting the solar farm to be elsewhere (see Liam's quote above) the majority of posts on this site are against the Solar Farm. Thank you for agreeing with us on one thing at least.

Looking forward to your reply,

DJ Fresh.

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My response was not Intended as aggresive, because of all things to get aggressive about the proposed solar farm is definitely not one of them

The point I was raising about benefiting from the land was that per acre if it is more finicially viable to have the land as solar farm than agricultural land then that is his decision on how he want to use his land.

The world of farming in this country has evolved massively over the past 30 years with a substantial amount of farms relying on government subsidies just to survive. But as mentioned above if for the farmer it is a better financial option to have the solar panels than to harvest the land then so be it.

Please don't try and undermine the points I am trying to put across, I'm fully aware of the planning authorities and hurdles that have to be completed to gain approval.

I have read before that the big rush is on to get this farm approved because of the impending subsidies cut, but a 22 million pound investment isn't something the people involved would make overnight.

Personally I think that the only People who should have a say in the matter are the councillers and any residents who's property is adjacent the proposed site as they will be the people who this solar farm will actually affect.

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