Plans for solar farms in Derbyshire move step closer

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Plans for solar farms in Derbyshire are set to move a step closer.

Next Tuesday, county councillors will hear there is overall support for the farms at five proposed sites in the North East Derbyshire and Amber Valley areas.

Following a six-week consultation, residents indicated they generally agreed with proposals to put solar farms on underused county council-owned land.

This includes former colliery or underused agricultural land unsuitable for growing crops.

Planning permission will now be sought in May to develop sites at:

• Westthorpe Hills, former Westthorpe Colliery, Killamarsh

• land at Pye Bridge, Alfreton

• former Swanwick Colliery reclamation land, Swanwick

• agricultural land at Mansfield Road, Temple Normanton

• former Williamthorpe Colliery, Holmewood

Proposals to develop agricultural land at Swathwick Lane in Wingerworth have been dropped following concerns by residents that it would be too intrusive.

If planning permission is granted solar panels would be installed in the ground to generate electricity from the sun.

If any of the sites get the go-ahead they could be up and running by next March.

Allison Thomas, Derbyshire County Council’s service director for transport and environment, said: “These sites are not currently being put to their best use so if we get planning approval it offers great potential to generate a good income for the council and so help protect services.

“Generally these locations tend not to be of much environmental interest so developing them could also provide a good opportunity to improve the local conservation.”

Ms Thomas added: “We have made a public commitment to invest in renewable energy technologies to help reduce our negative impact on climate change and provide local, green sources of energy.

“It is pleasing to know that, in principle, we have the support of residents.”