PLANS for a solar array to be built just off the A470 trunk road just outside Rhayader have been “called in” to be decided by the Powys County Council’s Planning committee.
Councillors will decide the application at the meeting on Thursday, January 12 as the applicant, Tony Davies of Henfron Farm, Rhayader is the husband of Cllr Angela Davies.
Mr Davies wants to build the solar array and associated works at Cae Henfron. The array would be made from 80 solar panels and would produce 30 kilowatts of electricity. This would be used to power a nearby building which contains an office and stores farm equipment.
The electricity would also be used to power the building’s heating system.
In documents supporting the proposal agent, Gareth Price said: “Surplus electricity will be exported into the National Grid supplying the local community with renewable energy.”
Planning officer Emma Jones said: “The field in which the application site is located directly adjoins the development boundary of Rhayader town to the west and is partially bounded to the south by the A470 Trunk Road.
“The proposed array is to be formed by two separate rows of panels, each measuring approximately 24.7 metres by 2.3 metres.”
Due to the sloped nature of the field, the height of the solar panels would vary from 0.6 metres high in the southern part to 1.5 metres high in the northern part of the site.
The report also states that the field is classified as “moderate to poor quality” agricultural land.
Planning Policy Wales does say that the “best and most versatile” land should be protected from development.
Ms Evans said: “Given the classification of the application site, it is not considered that development would result in the loss of high grade agricultural land.”
Ms Evans explained that when the solar array is decommissioned, the infrastructure can be dismantled and removed, allowing the field to be restored to its current state.
The site is near the River Way which is a classed as sensitive Special Area of Conservation (SAC).
This means that the application has also been screened in accordance to advice from Welsh Government environment body, Natural Resources Wales, on whether it would pollute the River Wye.
Ms Evans said: “The screening confirmed that the development is unlikely to increase phosphate inputs.”
Ms Evans recommends giving the plans conditional consent.
She said: “Officers are satisfied that the proposed development is in accordance with planning policy.”