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In Planning

Solar and Energy Storage

Lower Farm Solar & Energy Storage

12,736
Homes Powered
9,436
Tonnes of Carbon Saved
49.9MW
Capacity
63
Hectares

Introduction

Innova are planning to develop, construct, and operate a new solar array and energy storage project located to the east of Stafford, near Drointon. The site would be able to generate 49.9MW (Megawatts) of electricity, enough to power around 12,736 homes and save approximately 9,436 tonnes of CO2 emissions annually.

The site has been carefully selected and designed through a detailed assessment process considering grid availability, heritage, landscape and amenity, ecology and environmental designations, access, and agricultural land quality.  We engaged a team of expert consultants to undertake site specific assessment.

We hosted a community consultation to gather the local community’s feedback on our project, our current designs, and plans. We submitted our planning application to Stafford Borough Council in December 2022.

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.

Stafford Borough Council declared a Climate Emergency in 2019. The Council is committed to meeting the target of making the Council and the borough as a whole carbon neural by 2040.

The UK has committed to becoming Net Zero by 2050 and a target to decarbonise the electricity grid by 2035. This requires an extra 3GW of solar to be built each year. Renewable energy developments like Lower Farm Solar & Storage Project are a key part of addressing the Climate Emergency. The development at Lower Farm will serve a key role in this vital transition to renewable energy.

Environmental Benefits

The UK has committed to becoming Net Zero by 2050 and a target to decarbonise the electricity grid by 2035. This requires an extra 3GW of solar to be built each year. Renewable energy developments like Lower Farm Solar & Energy Storage are a key part of addressing the Climate Emergency. The development will serve a key role in this vital transition to renewable energy. 

The solar farm will be made suitable for sheep 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 which will boost the biodiversity both on and off site.

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Current planning process status

01

Complete

Community Consultation

02

Completed

Revise Proposals

03

Completed

Application Submitted

04

TBC

Decision on Application

Information regarding the decision on our planning application will be shared here in due course.

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The Location

Lower Farm Solar & Energy Storage will be located to the east of Stafford, near Drointon.

The iterative design process has informed a layout which has identified the land which benefits from established screening and includes a buffer from residential properties and local public rights of ways. Additional planting of hedgerow and woodland is proposed at the site boundaries to further screen the site.

Construction Information

The construction period for the proposed development is expected to be 25 weeks, advanced notification will be provided for road users and residents ahead of the construction period.

 

Access Information

The land parcel housing the solar array and energy storage site will be accessed from an un-named road through an existing entrance to the north of the site. For the smaller land parcel housing the electrical switchgear a new entrance into this area will need to be created.

The majority of vehicular movements associated with the development would be during the construction and decommissioning periods. Safe and suitable access routes for construction vehicles are being identified within the Construction Traffic Management Plan submitted with the application.

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

The site has been carefully selected and designed during a detailed assessment process considering grid availability, land availability, solar irradiance, landscape and amenity, ecology, agricultural land quality, heritage, environmental designations, and access.

We engaged a team of expert consultants to undertake the following assessments:

Agricultural Land Quality: According to the Natural England Agricultural Land Maps, the site is located on Grade 3 agricultural land. We are currently undertaking a site-specific Agricultural Land Classification survey which will provide an up-to-date result.

Cultural Heritage and Archaeology:  We will be undertaking cultural heritage assessments, considering the potential for both buried archaeology on site and inter- relationships with nearby above ground heritage assets in the local area.

Ecology – A bespoke biodiversity strategy is being prepared that ensures existing and new habitats are enhanced or created to benefit local wildlife.  Ecology studies have been undertaken to identify any site specific sensitivities and we will use this information to design and develop our long-term management plan for the site.

Biodiversity Net Gain (‘BNG’) – All our sites deliver significant BNG, and we will wherever possible exceed the statutory requirements set out for this. We will provide site specific management and ecological mitigation measures to ensure on-site BNG. These will be confirmed and consulted on as part of the planning application process.