This week, Lightsource Renewable Energy achieved consent for a 6.66MW solar farm near Newtonabbey in Northern Ireland. The development is capable of generating enough clean energy to power 1,675 average homes and offset 3,156 tonnes of CO2 emissions each year.
Neo Environmental’s involvement:
Neo Environmental undertook all of the environmental assessments required for the successful consent of the proposed development and advised on the final design of the solar farm. The assessments and reports completed by Neo Environmental included: Cultural Heritage & Archaeology (including a geophysical survey), Ecology (Extended Phase 1 Habitat Survey & National Vegetation Classification), Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment (including 3D visualisations), Construction Traffic Management Plan (including swept path analysis), Flood Risk Assessment, Landscape Plan and Biodiversity Management Plan.
The initial extended phase 1 habitat survey identified the grassland within the site as a potential BAP priority habitat. Further survey work was required to be undertaken and impacts were mitigated through the design process.
With regards to archaeology, the site contained the remains of a possible wedge tomb which wasn’t recorded in NIEA’s HER Records. The potential impact upon this was mitigated as part of the design process in consultation with Lightsource and archaeologists at NIEA.