Solar farm set to operate for 25 years on tip site

A solar farm
A solar farm

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A DISUSED rubbish tip could soon be turned into a giant solar farm.

A planning application has been submitted for a farm on the site of the former Funtley landfill site, near Fareham.

The application for a 18.4 hectare site – roughly the same as 17 full-size football pitches – has been sent to Winchester City Council by Cassidy & Ashton.

Residents in Titchfield Lane have been sent letters notifying them of the application.

The proposals involve setting solar panels on steel frames which will be mounted on ballasted framework.

Cassidy & Ashton asked the council for an opinion before it submitted an application.

Winchester City Council said: ‘There will be no habitat for protected species affected by the proposal. Public footpaths through the site will be protected and appropriate measures will be undertaken to avoid conflict of the proposal with the public footpath network.’

Despite this assurance, the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust is objecting to the plan, saying that several endangered species will be placed under threat, including the great crested newt, and other invertebrates and reptiles.

The proposals will see hundreds of photovoltaic panels installed on the brownfield site, together with a gas management system. Both will provide energy to the national grid.

The farm will be operated for 25 years, during which the land could still be used for grazing for animals.

Alban Cassidy, chartered town planner and environmental consultant at Cassidy & Ashton, said: ‘This project will make positive use of a former landfill site and will deliver a valuable source of energy not only for the local area, but for the whole country.

‘There are many similar projects across the country, particularly in the south west of England and as the proposals state that the panels will sit on the land, rather than require deep foundations, there will be minimal disruption to the local community during 
the installation period which will only be a matter of weeks.’

The owner of Great Fontley Farm, Titchfield Lane, has written to support the farm.

Jenny Mallett said: ‘I believe that it will be an appropriate use of the site and in particular will address the current methane leakage, and that once completed it will have little visual impact in the area.’

She requested that the company plant further hedges and trees to thicken up the existing screening.

The planning application is on the Winchester City Council website and residents have until Wednesday, July 31 to comment.