Proposed solar park in village fields

Solar panels.

Solar panels. - Credit: Archant

A SOLAR park containing approximately 32,000 panels could be built across five fields in Bleadon.

Solar energy developer Energi Installations is looking to build on South Hill Farm in Bridgwater Road to produce renewable energy to be fed into the national grid.

The panels, which would stand no more than three metres off the ground, would be surrounded by a security fence, intrusion detectors and 10 CCTV cameras to protect them from vandalism and for health and safety reasons.

Planning documents submitted to North Somerset Council show the location was chosen because it is large, flat ground able to accommodate a medium-scale development.

It also has sufficient hours of sunlight, access for construction workers and close proximity to the national grid.

Construction would take three to four months, and the panels would have an operating life of approximately 35 years.

The plans say the site would be seeded with a grass and wildflower mix and could be co-used for sheep grazing.

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This would ensure the fertility of the land so it can be restored for agriculture once the panels are decommissioned.

The fields lie adjacent to the Mendip Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) boundary and the Uphill Conservation Area.

For this reason it is subject to an Environmental Impact Assessment by North Somerset Council and an environmental statement has been submitted to the council to allow interested parties to determine the likely effect of the proposed development.

A similar bid was proposed by Enfinity UK in January 2011, but they withdrew the application after Government changes to the way solar panels were funded.

The application is being consulted on until June 19, although the council have currently received no comments objecting to the plans.