Energy firm to hold public consultation over greenbelt solar farm plans near to Yorkshire Sculpture Park

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An energy firm is to consult the public on its plans to build a solar farm near to Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

The scheme involves installing solar panels across 125 acres of greenbelt land at two sites close to the villages of Woolley and Haigh, in Wakefield.

Boom Power representatives will meet with residents to discuss the proposals next week.

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One of the sites is a 70 acres field close to the M1 motorway, around 500m from the sculpture park.

The sculpture park is one of the Wakefield district's most popular attractions.The sculpture park is one of the Wakefield district's most popular attractions.
The sculpture park is one of the Wakefield district's most popular attractions.

Panels would be visible from parts of the visitor attraction.

A second 55-acre site is planned close to a conservation area at Woolley.

A brochure detailing the project says the UK’s climate change strategy “needs to be delivered at pace and scale”.

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It says: “Brownfield and rooftop solar schemes are rightly being developed.

“However, these schemes cannot deliver at the pace or scale required to meet net zero.

“Many brownfield sites are not available for development or may not be suitably located for connection of an electricity generation project into the high voltage grid.

“It will therefore need to be a mixture of projects on suitable and available brownfield, rooftop, and carefully selected and designed projects on greenfield sites, such as this scheme.”

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Plans include laying an underground cable to a substation at Woolley Grange to connect to the National Grid.

The panels could be in place for up to to 40 years.

The document says the fields will retain greenfield status when the equipment is removed.

It adds: “This is a temporary, fully reversible development.”

Construction would take around nine months and road restrictions would be put in place.

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If the plans are approved, the company says it would consult with Wakefield Council on a traffic management plan.

Sheep would be grazed in the fields to maintain vegetation around the panels.

The brochure says: “This has the added benefit of maintaining an agricultural use at the site and also offers an additional agricultural stream for farmers during uncertain economic times.”

The council has said the scheme is “not likely” to have a significant impact on the environment,

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Last month, a request for a screening opinion was submitted to the council on behalf of Boom Power.

A screening opinion helps developers understand how likely an environmental impact assessment (EIA) will be needed before submitting a planning application.

The local authority has said the scheme is “not considered to be an EIA development”.

In March, the council called for a full EIA over Boom Power’s plans to install solar panels on 133 acres of countryside at Overton, Middlestown, New Hall and Grange Moor.

The Save Sitlington group has been set up to oppose that scheme.

The public consultation will take place at Woolley Village Hall, on October 10, from 1pm-7.30pm.

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