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Pre-Construction

Solar

Cefn Solar Park

9.9 MW
Solar capacity
10 MW
Storage capacity
2,754
Homes Powered
2,091 T
Carbon Saved
13.89
Hectares of Land

Introduction

Innova are planning to develop, construct and operate a new solar array located west of Wrexham industrial estate. The development will be located to the south of Cefn Road within the Five Fords Wastewater Treatment Works, owned and operated by Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water (DCWW), which will house the substation.

The site has been carefully selected and designed through detailed assessments considering grid availability, solar irradiance, heritage, landscape and visual impacts, as well as ecological & environmental designations. An important part of the development process is to provide renewable electricity to the identified end user, Five Fords Wastewater Treatment Works, which was also a major element when considering the development’s location.

Why do we want to develop here?

There is widespread awareness of the need to reduce dependence on fossil fuels and an encouragement to increase the generation and use of renewable energy. Wrexham Borough Council declared a Climate Emergency in September 2019 and established a Carbon Project Board.

The Welsh Government has committed to achieving Net Zero by 2050. Renewable energy developments like Cefn Solar Park are a key part of addressing the Climate Emergency. The operator of the Five Fords Wastewater Treatment Works, has set a target of carbon neutrality by 2040, the proposed project will contribute to achieving these targets and the proposed battery store will provide resilience to the National Grid enabling an increased reliance upon renewable sources of energy.

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Current planning process status

01

Completed

Community Consultation Event

02

Completed

Revise Proposals

03

Completed

Application submitted

04

Completed

Application consultation

05

Completed

Decision on application

Planning consent was obtained in March 2023.

06

TBC

Construction

A date for the beginning of construction is to be confirmed.

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Site Design

Through the design process, a layout has been briefed that considers visual receptors of the site, as well as maximising the energy generation of the panels. The layout of the site has also been informed by pre-application advice provided by the Council. An area of panels within the high-risk flood zone and an area adjacent to Cefn Road have been omitted, in part due to the location of service pipes but also to reduce the visual impact of the development from Cefn Road. Further buffers to road users are provided by the sites existing mature hedge rows and proposed woodland planting, helping to further reduce the visual impact of the project on road users.

A bespoke biodiversity strategy has been prepared that ensures existing and new habitats are enhanced or created to benefit local wildlife. As part of this initiative, our landscape planting, seeding and habitat creation plans will focus on native species. These initiatives will contribute to securing long term biodiversity net gain across the site. As part of the project an area of the site north of Cefn Road has been set aside as a proposed wildlife enhancement area, which can be viewed on the detailed layout plan.

The solar farm will be made suitable for grazing within the fenced area and seeded with an appropriate grassland mix. The margins of the site outside the fence can be used for other habitat enhancements such as wildflower seeding.

Construction Information

Site Access

Access to the site for construction will be from Cefn Road, utilising an existing field entrance which is already used by large farm machinery. The substation will be accessed from the existing Five Fords access. This access has previously been widened in connection with the operation of the treatment works which already receives regular visits from HGVs.

Construction Traffic

The majority of vehicular movements associated with the development would be during the construction and decommissioning periods. Deliveries to site will avoid peak hours. Safe and suitable access routes for construction vehicles have been identified within the Construction Traffic Management Plan submitted with the application. Advanced notification will be provided for road users and residents ahead of the construction period.

Post-Construction Traffic

Upon completion of construction there will be minimal traffic during the operational period with maintenance only requiring a site visit roughly once per month.

Specialist Environmental Surveys

A range of specialist consultants have completed surveys which have been submitted with the planning application, to aid in the design process and to ensure the site is appropriate for development.

Landscape and Visual – A Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment has assessed the potential impact of the development upon the character and appearance of the landscape and has informed a scheme of mitigation planting. As it matures, this along with the retained vegetation will screen the solar farm and will reduce its visual impact. The overall harm that would result from the proposed development to the character and appearance of the landscape would be limited and would be outweighed by the public benefits of the proposal.

Ecology – An Ecological Impact Assessment has been submitted in support of the application. Through mitigation and compensation strategies all Great Crested Newts will be removed from the working area within the site. Biodiversity enhancements including new, more valuable habitats and pond creation are included within the proposals, these measures will ensure that there will be no loss of functionality for GCN post development and will ensure no significant long-term impacts on the GCN population at the Site, Local or County level.

Heritage and Archaeology – The proposed development would have no harmful impact upon the settings of designated heritage assets. Archaeological investigations by means of a gradiometer survey and targeted trenching have also been undertaken in support of the proposed development. These investigations will inform a scheme of mitigation which will ensure that the construction of the development will not harm archaeological remains.

Hydrology – A Flood Risk Assessment has been submitted with the application. The majority of the northern site lies within Flood Zone 1, however a small area to the south and south-eastern boundaries lies within Flood Zones 2 and 3, which have a higher risk of flooding. However, no electrical infrastructure is proposed within these areas. The location of the substation within the Southern Site, also lies within Flood Zone 1. The proposed solar farm will not increase the risk of flooding on or off the site. Surface water runoff will be attenuated within the site.

Glint and Glare – A through survey has been conducted to determine if the effects of glint and glare will impact any nearby receptors and appropriate mitigations to be in place if so. The report concluded that, with the mitigation proposed, new hedgerow and woodland planting, the effect of glint and glare on receptors would not be significant. The proposed solar farm would not result in glint and glare that would result in a nuisance or a danger to highway or aviation safety.

Arboriculture – The layout of the proposed development has been informed by an Arboriculture Impact Assessment, and the PV panels and infrastructure have been sited so as to avoid damaging Root Protection Zones of the mature trees within the site. Trees and hedgerows will be retained and enhanced for their ecological value but also to provide screening of the proposed development.