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Tuesday, 02 September 2014

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Energy firm eyes north Cumbria for 119-acre solar park

An energy company has submitted plans that could lead to a 119-acre solar park being developed.

London-based firm Suncredit has applied to carry out the first steps which could lead to a development on land at Dryholme Farm, south west of Silloth. The proposed 48.34 hectare park is located west of the four-turbine Hellrigg windfarm.

A statement submitted to Allerdale council by Pegasus Group on behalf of Suncredit states: “The application site is not within a sensitive area as defined by environmental impact assessment regulations, nor is there any sensitive ecological, landscape or heritage assets within the site of the immediate surrounding area.

“The proposed development would not be of greater than local importance, the physical changes would occur within the site boundary and potentially at the site’s access only, and environmental effects are unlikely to be experienced beyond the immediate locality.

“Accordingly, it is our opinion that the proposed development does not constitute an environmental impact assessment development and consequently would not require an environmental statement to be submitted to accompany a planning application.”

In January, Allerdale council ruled that a similar 72-acre project near Bothel should be subject to an environmental assessment.

The Bothel application provoked anger from campaigners and residents in the area.

Alan Keighley, a member of Westnewton Action Group, argued that a solar park at Bothel would be unsightly and would not be as effective as claimed.

Mr Keighley said: “Given our massive overload of windfarms in Allerdale, we surely do not want to see our landscape abused any further with ugly industrial sites.”

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