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Pre-Construction

Tolldish Hall Farm Solar Project

Status:
Pre-Construction
25MWp
Solar Capacity
7,091
Homes Powered
5,055
Tonnes of Carbon Saved Annually
34
Hectares of Land

Current planning process status

  • Public Consultation
  • Revise Proposals
  • Application Submitted
  • Application Consultation
  • Decision on Application

About the Project

Novus are planning to develop, construct and operate a solar project at Tolldish Hall Farm, north east of Aldermans Green. The site would be able to generate 25MW of electricity, enough to power 7,091 homes.

The site has been carefully selected and designed through a detailed assessment process considering grid availability, heritage, landscape & amenity, ecology & environmental designations, access, and agricultural land quality.  We have engaged a team of expert consultants to provide advice on the project.

We submitted our planning application to Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council in October 2022.

We have engaged with the Council and statutory consultees through their pre-application planning advice service.

The iterative design process has informed a layout which provides a buffer from adjacent land uses and potential receptors of the site whilst benefiting from mature and effective established screening minimising visual impact. Additional planting of hedgerow and woodland is proposed to further screen the site.

A public footpath passes through the western part of the site, the fences have been set back to provide a ‘green lane’ with further planting and a new native hedgerow.

The layout plan includes the reinstatement of fragmented hedgerows and offsets from ponds and sensitive ecological habitats.

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 which will boost the biodiversity both on and off site.


Site Design

The iterative design process has informed a layout which provides a buffer from adjacent land uses and potential receptors of the site whilst benefiting from mature and effective established screening minimising visual impact. Additional planting of hedgerow and woodland is proposed to further screen the site.

A public footpath passes through the western part of the site, the fences have been set back to provide a ‘green lane’ with further planting and a new native hedgerow.

The layout plan includes the reinstatement of fragmented hedgerows and offsets from ponds and sensitive ecological habitats.

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 which will boost the biodiversity both on and off site.


The Equipment

Solar Panels: The solar panels will be mounted with a maximum rear height of approximately 3m using frames fixed to the ground with piled posts or ground screws.

Inverters units: Convert the power from DC to AC and are mounted on the back of the solar panels at intervals.

Substation buildings: Required to connect the solar farm to the local electricity network, and meter the production.

Transformer units: Will be required for each section of the solar farm to step the voltage up to a suitable export level.

Perimeter fence: approximately 2 metres high, consisting of wooden posts supporting traditional wire stock fencing to match the local vernacular as required by the local authority. Infrared CCTV cameras may be required which would look along the fence line with no exterior lighting required anywhere on site.


Site Access

Construction Access will be via the existing Tolldish Hall Farm entrance. There are clear visibility splays at this location with pre-existing concrete roads in place.

Traffic management measures will be employed to ensure safe entry and exit from this junction. This would be agreed in consultation with the Local Highway Authority and controlled through a detailed management plan, secured by planning conditions. Advanced notification will be provided for road users and residents ahead of the anticipated 16 week construction period.

The Operational access will be located towards the north of the site utilising an existing entrance. There will be minimal traffic during the operational period with maintenance only requiring a site visit roughly once per month. Operational visits are usually carried out by one or two personnel, in a light goods vehicle, to undertake routine maintenance and project checks. We would also make occasional trips to site as part of our ongoing planning and environmental management compliance checks. For example, to check on our ongoing landscaping and ecological management measures, and to identify opportunities for additional enhancements.

Internal access tracks will use existing tracks where available. Any new access tracks will be 4 metres wide and will be built of crushed stone over a geo-textile membrane, no concrete will be required. Where possible, tracks will be allowed to grass over once construction is finished.

The site would be operational for a period of forty years. Once the project ceases operation it will be restored to its original condition.


Specialist Environmental Surveys

A range of specialist consultants have undertaken surveys to be submitted with the planning application to aid in the design process and ensure the site is appropriate for the proposed solar farm.

Landscape & Visual: The site extends across a number of fields which benefit from existing landscape screening, within an extensive network of bounding hedges and woodland. We are planning to enhance and reinforce that screening. A Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment is currently underway and will inform the detailed landscaping plan.

Agricultural Land Quality – An assessment of the Agricultural Land Quality has been undertaken and has found the soil on the site to be made up of grade 3b. Therefore, the is best and most versatile agricultural land.

Cultural Heritage and Archaeology:  Our specialists are carrying out cultural heritage assessments, considering the potential for both buried archaeology on site and inter- relationships with nearby above ground heritage assets.

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 the impact of current proposals 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 are currently finalising our BNG calculations for the site and specific management and ecological mitigation measures. These will be confirmed and consulted on as part of the planning application process.

Hydrology – A flood risk assessment is underway to ensure the proposed development is not at risk from surface water or river flooding and to employ mitigations if necessary.

Noise – Modelling is underway to assess the potential noise impacts during construction or because of electrical infrastructure during operation. There is expected to be low to negligible impact. Mitigation measures can be applied if necessary.


Green Energy and Climate Change

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.

Nuneaton & Bedworth Borough Council has declared a climate emergency and is committed to working towards the aspiration of making the area as a whole carbon neutral by 2030

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 Tolldish Hall  are a key part of addressing the Climate Emergency. The development at Tolldish Hall Farm Solar Project will serve a key role in this vital transition to renewable energy.


FAQs

How will the Public Right of Way be affected?

In the construction phase, the footpath will need to be managed for safety and the best methods for this will be agreed with the local authority in consultation with key stakeholders and consultees. Once the solar farm is in operation the public right of way will continue to be accessible with the fences set back and a new hedgerow planted. 

We are you using Green Belt land?

We have undertaken a thorough sequential exercise which has explored opportunities to locate the solar project on previously developed land and land outside the Green Belt as a priority. However, given the extent of the Green Belt in this area and the need to connect into the  local distribution network, this site is considered to be the most suitable. The project is temporary in nature and will maintain the openness of the Green Belt once returned to agricultural use. Full details of the sequential search will be included within the planning application.