Energy firm applies to build 25,000-panel solar farm in Rooksbridge

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First published in News This is The West Country: Photograph of the Author by

A FRESH application has been submitted for another solar farm near Burnham, which could join tens of thousands of panels springing up across Sedgemoor.

Brilliant Harvest has applied through agent Aardvark EM to build a 6.75MW solar farm of 25,460 panels on land at Ashlawn Farm, Pill Road, Rooksbridge.

People have just a few days left to comment on the application, as consultation ends on Tuesday, April 29.

East Brent Parish councillors called a special meeting last week to discuss the plans, but the clerk, Martin Shobbrook told the Weekly News: “We didn't feel qualified to make a decision on such a major application and complex issue. We have left it for Sedgemoor District Council to decide.

“But a solar farm will only really be seen by any properties that are close to it, unlike a wind farm.”

Planning approval was also granted last year for an application by Wessex Solar Energy for a 33,000-panel solar farm on fields between Woolavington and East Huntspill.

Sedgemoor's planners also gave the nod last year to a 41,000-panel solar farm at Watchfield and removed a condition so work could start early on a 4,000-panel scheme in Wedmore.

County councillor for Brent division, John Denbee, said: “I think energy firms are choosing Sedgemoor because the land is largely flat and maybe that allows for less glare from the sun reflecting off the panels.

“Solar power is more accepted than wind power and I have received no objections from people regarding solar projects.

“We need to look at green energy as a way forward but also maintain some land for grazing. At least with a solar project the land can still be used in future.”

The Pill Road project is hoped to generate 6,948MWh per year, the equivalent of the electricity demand from 1,483 houses in Sedgemoor.

A spokesman for Aardvark EM said: “Brilliant Harvest considers the Ashlawn Solar Farm will have one of the highest electricity generations per hectare in the country and will provide a benchmark for future solar parks in terms of design, efficiency and environmental impact.”

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