Neo Environmental were commissioned by Castillium Energy Ltd to undertake all the environmental assessments for 60MW of solar development in England. The developments will consist of over 200,000 ground mounted solar PV panels and will provide enough power for almost 10,000 houses.
The 60MW of development covered 4 sites, with two of these in excess of 20MW. The largest of the developments was a 24MW proposal in Nottingham. This site was relatively complicated due to its location directly adjacent to a Heritage Conservation area, numerous PROWs bounding the site and being on sloping terrain. Neo Environmental worked positively with the various consultees and LPA on the heritage and landscape issues and managed to agree that impacts would be acceptable through effective mitigation and enhancement schemes. A noise assessment for the inverters was also undertaken due to the proximity of adjacent dwellings.
The second site was in Gloucester, where Neo environmental undertook assessments for a 22.5MW solar development. The site had numerous constraints that needed to be considered including a high pressure gas line, AONB within a few hundred metres and numerous PROWs passing through the site.
The final two sites are in Cumbria and Lincolnshire and both consist of 6.5MW developments. The site in Cumbria will be the first commercial solar farm being proposed in this area. It will power approximately 800 houses. The site is within a landscape with a significant industrial legacy which needed major consideration. Mining risk assessments were produced as well as significant assessment of the historical legacy associated with this. Major design alterations were required for the development to mitigate potential landscape, visual and archaeological constraints; all of which was informed by Neo Environmental.
The 6.5MW project within Lincolnshire was within the coastal grazing marshes project area as well as within a flood risk area. Neo Environmental undertook a significant level of consultation to overcome these issues and agree sufficient mitigation and enhancement measures. The proposal will result in significant ecological benefits which will aid the grazing marshes project. Buffer zones were implemented to ensure the protection of water vole species within the site.