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Major solar farm plans in Wrexham set to move forward next month

Lightsource bp wants to build solar panels on a site on the Plas Power Estate in Wrexham (Pic: Lightsource bp)

PLANS for a large solar farm in Wrexham covering an area the size of nearly 170 football pitches look set to be brought forward next month.

Lightsource bp wants to build solar panels on a site on the Plas Power Estate, located off Ruthin Road, which would produce enough energy to power almost 23,000 homes.

The facility would have a capacity of 57MW and cover an area of more than 330 acres stretching from just outside Coedpoeth to near Bersham, mostly consisting of agricultural fields.

According to the company, the solar and energy storage project would help to save 15,800 tonnes of carbon emissions, equivalent to 10,800 cars being taken off the road each year.

Details of the proposals are contained within a report to Wrexham Council’s planning committee, which shows that a formal application is expected to be submitted in early June.

Due to the size of the development, it will be down to the Welsh Government to decide if the plans should go ahead.

Lightsource bp has pledged to provide a fund of £1,000 per MW capacity as part of the proposals, with the money to be distributed between Coedpoeth and Esclusham community councils.

The company said a further £400,000 will be invested in projects to benefit local communities.

In a newsletter to residents, the firm said: “The Plas Power Solar and Energy Storage Project will provide a source of homegrown, renewable energy, helping to reduce carbon emissions and strengthen energy security by reducing reliance on imported fossil fuel energy sources.

“Because solar power is one of the cheapest ways to generate electricity, it’ll help lower bills too.

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“Lightsource bp makes sure that its projects are designed and developed to support and sustain rural businesses and protect and enhance the local environment.

“We are dedicated to supporting communities that are host to our projects, and we work closely with them to maximise the benefits and minimise any impacts.”

A report going to the local authority’s planning committee next week shows the application would be classed as a “development of national significance” under Welsh Government regulations.

The council’s chief planning officer David Fitzsimon said the proposals would therefore need to be submitted to Planning and Environment Decisions Wales to be considered by an inspector.

Outlining the process, he said: “The appointed inspector considers the applicant’s submissions, the submissions made by statutory and technical consultees and other interested parties, as well as a local impact report prepared by the local planning authority.

“Having considered all of these submissions, the inspector writes a report to the Welsh ministers setting out their conclusions and recommending whether planning permission should be granted or not.”

Committee members are being asked to delegate authority to Mr Fitzsimon to prepare and submit a local impact report on the proposals once they are brought forward.

He said this would not prevent elected members from making their own representations on the scheme.

The report will be presented to councillors when they meet on Monday (June 3, 2024).