Huge solar farm scheme near Doncaster airport given the go-ahead

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One of Doncaster’s biggest solar power generation sites has been given the green light to operate near Robin Hood Airport.

The scheme, for a piece of land west of South View, Austerfield, was approved by Doncaster Council planning committee after officials at Robin Hood Airport raised no concerns over the proposal by applicant Aidan Woodrow.

The scheme is a 50 kilowatt, solar photovoltaic farm covering an area of 0.1 hectares. The development proposes to use solar power to create electricity to be distributed to the local grid.

The development will consist of up to 240 solar panels attached to a fixed ground-mounted steel system with a total height of 2.2m.

The panels are to be laid out in east to west rows. They will be tilted at an angle of 25 degrees and mounted to face due south.

There are no public rights of way within the site although a council report said it appeared dog walkers used a section informally.

One objection was sent into the scheme raising several concerns over the plans.

The concerns were:

n Harm to the character of the area

n Access would run next to residential properties

n Noise and disturbance

n Glare to residential properties.

Robin Hood Airport decided against objecting to the plans after the developer submitted more information.

The National Air Traffic Services raised no objections.

The author of the council’s report, Dave Richards, said the main issues were considered to be whether the scheme would be a sustainable development with regard to its environmental, social and economic roles, and in particular, what effect the development would have on the landscape’s character and appearance of the area.

He said: “The proposal would cause some harm to the countryside by reason of inappropriateness and because of the reduction in openness it would involve. A local resident makes a representation along similar lines.

“There would however, be a limited degree of visual harm to the landscape and the proposal would not be significantly visible given the distances to the public highway and the natural screening surrounding the site. Furthermore the use would be easily reversible as a temporary use of agricultural land of ‘only’ a good to moderate condition.

“The solar farm would bring about direct employment in the construction industry and potential job creation in the supply chain and related services thereby allowing for multiple and efficient use of the land deriving numerous social and economic benefits.”

Councillors voted to back the scheme after the report stated issues such as aviation safety, highways, ecology and residential amenity had been satisfactorily considered and resolved.