Peterlee solar panel farm could power 1,400 homes for next 30 years

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A new 20,000-panel solar farm could get the go-ahead when plans go before councillors next week.

Durham County Council’s planning committee will consider an application for the farm, at Mill Hill, Peterlee, on Tuesday.

The site would be expected to produce 5,000 megawatt hours a year, which would meet the energy requirements of 1,390 homes.

The plans are being recommended for approval, and the solar farm could save around 60,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide during its 30-year life.

The site is just north of the North West Industrial Estate, in Peterlee, and the closest homes to it are 500m away.

Should the plans get the go-ahead, the panels will be mounted on fixed frames at 25 degrees, with a maximum height of 2.5m.

After 30 years, the infrastructure would be dismantled and removed from the site.

A 2m-high metal security fence would enclose the area, according to the application, and would be positioned behind existing hedge lines, maintaining a gap of at least 5m.

The committee will be recommended to approve the plans, subject to a number of conditions.

The development will have to have started by no more than three years after the permission is granted, while approval for the improvement of the site entrance from the B1283 will have to be agreed with the planning authority.

It will also only be granted for a 30-year period, starting from the approval date, and a scheme for the restoration of the site will need to be agreed within six months of the expiry date.

The only objection submitted to the proposal is from The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE).

A statement from the applicant, fvvv vdvd, said: “Extensive assessment work has been carried out to confirm the suitability of the site,to minimise its impact and to add enhancement where possible.

“The layout of the scheme has evolved significantly during the design process in response to the various assessments.

“Several environmental assessments have been carried out to assess the impacts of the development.

“The development will not have adverse impacts on landscape, ecology, flooding, access, glint and glare, or heritage assets.

“The proposal is a temporary development with relatively low impact and potential for some lower intensity agricultural activity. The site will be restored at the end of its operation life.

“The site would continue to be available for agricultural use through grazing through the life span of the project.”