Rush Wall Solar Park

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Rush Wall Solar Park

PRE-APPLICATION CONSULTATION 6th November 2020 – 8th January 2021

INTRODUCTION TO THE PROPOSAL

We have prepared this webpage to provide an opportunity for pre-application consultation on a proposed installation of a solar (PV) park development on land near the village of Redwick, south east of Newport, Wales on the Caldicot Levels (coordinates 341478, 185552).

The proposed solar (PV) installation will have a design capacity of approximately 75MW is classed as a ‘Development of National Significance’ (DNS) being that it has a design generation capacity of more than 10MW; the applicable threshold whereby proposals generating electricity require permission from Welsh Government Ministers as a Development of National Significance. 

THE PURPOSE OF THIS CONSULTATION

This webpage provides a copy of the draft DNS application so that members of the public, statutory consultees and other consultees can comment on the proposal prior to the formal application being finalised and submitted as an Application for a Development of National Significance.

**The pre-application consultation runs from 6th November 2020 – 8th January 2021**

The feedback from this consultation exercise will inform a ‘Consultation Report’ which will be prepared after the consultation and which will also form part the DNS application. The Consultation Report will review the consultation responses received and then discuss how these have been taken into consideration as part of the formal application submission.

THE ‘DRAFT’ APPLICATION

In accordance with ‘The Developments of National Significance (Procedure) (Wales) Order 2016’, we have included on this webpage (see below) the following draft DNS application documents for your consideration and comment:

Draft Application Form

Draft Application Form

Site Location Plan

1578-0200-00 Rush Wall Farm Site Location Plan ISS06

Copies of plans, drawings and other information that describe the proposal

1578-0201-00 Rushwall Farm Planning Layout ISS08
1578-0201-01 Rushwall Flood Risk Mitigation Layout ISS02
1578-0201-26 Rushwall Inverter Analysis ISS02
1578-0201-28 Mounting System Detail ISS05
1578-0201-50 Rushwall Buffer Zones Section Views ISS04
1578-0204-00 CCTV Detail
1578-0205-01 Fence Detail
1578-0205-02 HV Fence Detail1578-0207-40 Spares Container Detail
1578-0207-00 Inverter Station Detail (0-0.25m Flood Risk) ISS05
1578-0207-01 Inverter Station Detai (0.25-0.5m Flood Risk)l ISS02
1578-0207-02 Inverter Station Detail (0.5-0.75m Flood Risk) ISS02
1578-0207-41 Welfare Container Detail
1578-0208-80 DNO HV Compound Plan View
1578-0208-81 DNO HV Compound Elevation Views A&B
1578-0208-82 DNO HV Compound Elevation Views C&D
17_190829_01_A Overhead 132kV line Connection details

A copy of the notice issued by the Planning Inspectorate accepting our notification of the intention to submit a DNS Application

Acceptance of Notification Letter to the APP [28.09.2020]

A draft design and access statement

Rush Wall Design and Access Statement 02.10.20

Other evidence in support of anything in or relating to the application

Environmental Statement

00_ES_Non-Technical Summary
01_ES_01_Chapter 1_Introduction
01_ES_02_Chapter 2_Project Description
01_ES_02a_Figure 2-1_Field Numbering Plan
01_ES_02b_Figure 2-7_1578-0201-00 Rushwall Farm Planning Layout ISS08
01_ES_02c_Figure 2-14_1578-0201-28 Mounting System Detail ISS05
01_ES_02d_Figure 2-15_1578-0201-50 Rushwall Buffer Zone Section Views ISS04
01_ES_02e_Figure 2-16_1578-0201-26 Rushwall Inverter Analysis ISS02
01_ES_02f_Figure 2-17_1578-0208-10 Rush Wall Farm DNO Access Road Section
01_ES_02g_Figure 2-18_1578-0201-01 Rushwall Flood Risk Mitigation Layout ISS02
01_ES_02x_Appendix2.1_CTMP
01_ES_02x_Appendix2.2_CEMP
01_ES_02x_Appendix2.3_LEMP
01_ES_03_Chapter 3_Methodology and Consultation
01_ES_03a_Fig3-2_CumulativeSchemes_20200707
01_ES_03x_Ch3_Appendix 3.1_EIA Scoping Request
01_ES_03x_Ch3_Appendix3.2_EIA Scoping Direction
01_ES_04_Chapter 4_Climate Change
01_ES_05_Chapter 5_Ecology
01_ES_05x_Appendix 5.1 PEA Rush Wall Solar Park 11.09.2020
01_ES_05x_Appendix 5.2 Invetebrate surveys Rush Wall Solar 2019
01_ES_05x_Appendix 5.3 Bat Activitry Survey 11.09.2020
01_ES_05x_Appendix 5.4 Badger survey Rush Wall Solar 11.09.2020
01_ES_05x_Appendix 5.5 GCN survey Rush Wall Solar 11.09.2020
01_ES_05x_Appendix 5.6 Otter survey Rush Wall Solar 11.09.2020
01_ES_05x_Appendix 5.7 Water Vole Survey Rush Wall Solar 11.09.2020
01_ES_05x_Appendix 5.8 NVC survey Rush Wall Solar 11.09.2020
01_ES_06_Chapter 6_Ornithology
01_ES_06x_Appendix 6.1 Winter bird surveys Rush Wall Solar 11.09.2020
01_ES_06x_Appendix 6.2 Breeding bird surveys Rush Wall Solar 11.09.2020
01_ES_07_Chapter 7_Hydrology,Water QualityandFloodRisk
01_ES_07x_Appendix 7.1 Greenfield Runoff Rate Estimation Tool
01_ES_08_Chapter 8_Landscape and Visual
01_ES_08a_Fig 8.1 – Site Analysis – Rush Wall Solar Park P0345
01_ES_08b_Fig 8.2A-F – Site Views A-F – Rush Wall Solar Park P0345
01_ES_08c_Fig 8.3 – Cumulative Schemes – Rush Wall Solar Park P0345 Rev A
01_ES_08d_Fig 8.4 – Landscape Relevant Designations – Rush Wall Solar Park P0345
01_ES_08e_Fig 8.5 – National Landscape Character – Rush Wall Solar Park P0345
01_ES_08f_Fig 8.6A – Landmap – Visual and Sensory – Rush Wall Solar Park
01_ES_08g_Fig 8.6B – Landmap – Historic Landscape – Rush Wall Solar Park P0345
01_ES_08h_Fig 8.6C – Landmap – Cultural Landscape – Rush Wall Solar Park P0345
01_ES_08i_Fig 8.6D – Landmap – Geological Landscape – Rush Wall Solar Park P0345
01_ES_08j_Fig 8.6E – Landmap -Landscape Habitat – Rush Wall Solar Park P0345
01_ES_08k_Fig 8.7 – Topography – Rush Wall Solar Park P0345
01_ES_08l_Fig 8.8 – Principal Visual Amenity Receptors – Rush Wall Solar Park P0345
01_ES_08m_Fig 8.9A – ZTV (Bare Earth) – Rush Wall Solar Park P0345
01_ES_08n_Fig 8.9B – ZTV (Excluded) – Rush Wall Solar Park P0345
01_ES_08p_Fig 8.10A-8.25A – Viewpoints – Rush Wall Solar Park P0345 Rev A
01_ES_08q_Fig 8.26 – Indicative Landscape Masterplan – Rush Wall Solar Park P0345
01_ES_08x_Appendix8-1_Bibliography
01_ES_08x_Appendix8-2_Technical Information
01_ES_09_Chapter 9_Heritage
01_ES_09a_Fig 9.1 Depth of peat
01_ES_09x_Appendix 9.1 Heritage DBA
01_ES_09x_Appendix 9.2 ASIDOHL
01_ES_09x_Appendix 9.3 Palaeoenvironmental
01_ES_10_Chapter 10_Transport (Road Users)
01_ES_10x_Appendix 10.1_Traffic Survey A4810
01_ES_10x_Appendix 10.2_Traffic Survey North Row
01_ES_10x_Appendix 10.3_Traffic Survey Green Street
01_ES_11_Chapter 11_NoiseandVibration
01_ES_11x_11 Appendices
01_ES_12__Chapter 12_Glint and Glare
01_ES_12x_Appendix 12.1_Glint and Glare Study – September 2020
01_ES_13_Chapter 13_HumanHealth
01_ES_14_Chapter 14_Conclusions

Flood Consequences Assessment

P18053_R2_FCA – 20201023

Topographical Survey

ASC.19.692 – Rush Wall – Topographical Survey – October 2019

Planning Statement
Appendix 1 – 1578-0200-00 Site Location Plan ISS05
Appendix 2 – 1578-0201-00 Planning Layout ISS08
Appendix 3 – Fig2.1_FieldNumberingPlan
Appendix 4a – NCC Pre-Application Advice
Appendix 4b – NCC Ecology
Appendix 4c – NCC Highways
Appendix 4d – NCC Landscaping
Appendix 4e – NCC Trees
Appendix 5 – MCC Pre-Application Advice
Appendix 6 – Biodiversity Metric
Appendix 7 – Copy of Email WG Department for Env, Rural Affairs
Appendix 8 – PINS Scoping Direction
Rush Wall Planning Statement 22.10.20

Glint and Glare Study

Glint and Glare Study – September 2020

Landscape and Ecology Management Plan

Landscape and Ecology Management Plan

Site Selection Sequential Report

Rush Wall – Sequential Site Selection Report – Issued

Construction Traffic Management Plan

Construction Traffic Management Plan

Habitats Regulations Assessment

HRA – Screening Assessment

Construction Environmental Management Plan

Construction Environmental Management Plan_20201023

Tree Survey

1. Rush Wall Farm Survey Schedule
2. Tree Survey Plan North
3. Tree Survey Plan South
4. Tree RPA Plan North
5. Tree RPA Plan South
6. Tree Shadow Plan North
7. Tree Shadow Plan South
8. Tree Protection Plan North
9. Tree Protection Plan South

Please do not hesitate to get in touch if you would like to query anything in relation to these documents or if you cannot find a document that you are looking for.

HOW TO PROVIDE US WITH YOUR COMMENTS

BSR Energy Ltd would like to invite your comments during a 9 week so that they can be considered as part of the final DNS submission.

Comments can be sent to us by one of the following:

  • Completion of the following Consultation form, or
  • Email to our planning agent Renplan Ltd. at info@renplan.co.uk; or
  • Writing by post to BSR Energy, 35 And 35a The Maltings Lower Charlton Trading Estate, Shepton Mallet, Somerset, England, BA4 5QE

CONSULTATION FORM

If you would like to discuss any part of this proposal with us, please do not hesitate to get in touch. Our planning agent Renplan Ltd can be contacted on 01934 441934 (contact Ben Lewis).  BSR Energy can be contacted on 01458 224 900 (contact Development team)
Thank you for taking your time to consider our proposal. We look forward to hearing from you.

Location

Key Figures

Location:Land at Rushwall Lane, Redwick, NP26 3TS
Technology:Solar PV (Ground Mounted)
Size:Approx. 75MWp design capacity
Land size (approx.)c. 85Ha (210 acres)
DNO:Western Power Distribution (WPD)
Land designation:Agricultural, Grade 3b/4
Contract term:Application is for 35 years
Planning submission date:Estimated January 2021
Planning decision:Estimated Autumn 2021
  • Solar farms are the most nature-friendly way of generating power for the grid and support endangered wildlife such as bees
  • Solar makes virtually no noise or waste and has no moving parts
  • Many solar farms are grazed by sheep or combined with other farming
  • Solar is the most popular form of energy generation at more than 80% support
  • Solar works well in Britain –-solar panels in the South of England generate 65% of the power they would in Central Spain
  • Community groups can invest in or set up their own solar farms
  • Cheap electricity from solar farms could put £425m back into consumers’ pockets through reduced energy bills by 2030

Solar is one of the best energy technologies for generating revenue in the UK

  • They generate electricity locally and feed into the local electricity grid using a free source of energy (the sun) to generate electricity on bright cloudy days as well as in direct sunlight.
  • They represent time-limited, reversible land use and provide an increased, diversified and stable source of income for landowners.
  • They may have dual purpose usage with sheep or other animals grazing between rows, and can help to support biodiversity by allowing small animals access to otherwise fenced-off land, with bird and insect fodder plants and wildflowers sown around the modules.
  • If 10,000MW of solar was installed on the ground, it would only use 0.1% of UK agricultural land area, whilst being able to generate enough electricity for over 3 million homes.
  • There are no moving parts, and maintenance is minimal compared to other technologies
  • There is no by-product or waste generated, except during manufacturing or dismantling.
  • They have lower visual and environmental impacts than other forms of power generation
  • Renewables give consumers the choice of buying green electricity and reduce reliance on fossil fuels

COMMON MYTHS ABOUT SOLAR FARMS

Solar Parks cause flooding

When rain falls on an individual solar panel, it runs across the surface, drops to the ground and collects in tiny rivulets.  These rivulets are effectively managed by a special system of small channels and mounds of soil which slow the flow of water so it is absorbed into the ground more quickly.

BSR Energy uses independent specialist consultants, such as Yellow Sub Geo to carry out a Flood Risk Assessment for each of its planning applications.  Yellow Sub Geo has calculated that a typical solar park can increase the risk of flooding by 0.01%.  The bespoke water management system accommodates this increase and can actually reduce the risk of flooding.

Solar Parks emit a glint/glare which is dangerous to passing motorists and aircraft

Poly-crystalline solar panels are designed to absorb light, which is why they are dark in colour, and they have anti-reflective coatings to reduce reflection.  As a result the panels absorb between 82-90% of the light they receive, which is much greater degree of light absorption than other features in a landscape including water, grass and trees.

Solar Parks use agricultural land that would otherwise be used to grow food

BSR Energy recognises that the provision of renewable, non-imported energy should not be at the expense of maintaining a supply of home-grown foods.  It supports this principle by ensuring it doesn’t apply for solar parks on prime agricultural land.  Using the government land grading of 1 to 5, this means not using Grade 1 land, avoiding Grade 2 land and grazing sheep on the land it does build on, which is typically Grade 3a, 3b and 4.

Solar Parks are noisy

There are three potential noise sources from a working solar park – the inverters, transformers and substations that are used to regulate the production of electricity.  For each of these, the operational noise level can be up to 60dBA (decibels) within a few metres of the source, which is quieter than an average conversation.  Noise is rarely an issue.  In very quiet areas, special equipment can be used to reduce noise further.

Solar Parks destroy wildlife

When BSR Energy plans a solar park it ensures there will be no adverse impact on natural habitat.  It uses deer fencing with 10cm gaps at the base to allow wildlife to roam freely, and in many cases actually increases biodiversity through planting new hedgerows and trees.

For each site independent specialist consultants carry out a survey of natural habitat – it is their job to ensure that no wildlife will be harmed and that BSR Energy’s planning applications include measures to enhance biodiversity.  Landowners of BSR Energy’s operational solar parks report that their sites have seen an increase in fauna, and that in the absence of pesticides and fertilisers, wild flowers have colonised on the edges of the land.

Solar have a negative ‘carbon footprint’

A solar PV panel mounted in the UK, will produce many times over the energy required for its production.  Life cycle assessments look at the energy/carbon payback time through a panel’s production, operation and disposal, and studies have shown that payback periods range from 2-7 years.  Though all studies have different ‘boundaries’ and variables to consider payback of carbon, they all agree that the solar PV does not require more energy to produce than it creates.

AN OVERVIEW

How a solar farm works

Solar panels produce energy from light which is fed along cables to an electrical connection that combines the input from multiple panels.  This feeds into an inverter which turns the electricity from DC to AC.

Immediately next to each inverter is a transformer that increases the AC voltage to that of the local grid.  Each transformer on the site feeds into electrical switch gear that links the solar farm to the distribution network operator’s (DNO) substation.

From here it enters the national grid and is available for local businesses and homes.

The whole system feeds constant live data back to the office so that the operations and maintenance team knows how well the site is performing.

The physical structure

Solar panels are mounted on steel frames which are arranged in rows, with an approximate total height of between 2.5m and 3m.  There is a ground clearance of 0.8m below the base of the solar panels to allow for the grazing of sheep.  In most cases, the steel frames are driven directly into the ground, to a depth of 1.5m using small piling rigs.  This negates the need for concrete and limits disturbance of the land.

A number of sealed inverter housing units are located within each site – how many depends on the size of the project.  Each unit is approximately 7m x 3m x 3m and has an adjacent open air transformer which is about 2 cubic meters.  In addition, each solar farm requires a DNO sub-station and a private sub-station.  These are typically located close to the overhead lines and measure about 40x40m in total.  They are designed to blend as naturally as possible with the surroundings.

Construction

  • A typical build period for a 50MW (200acre) site is 4-6 months
  • We do everything possible to minimise disruption or nuisance to the local community
  • Site facilities are delivered at the beginning and end of this period
  • The main traffic relates to delivery of panels and frames which arrive on lorries.

Security

  • 2m high wire mesh fencing is installed around the perimeter of the solar farm
  • This is typically green unless the Local Planning Authority require otherwise
  • The fence contains sensors that can withstand rubbing from sheep
  • Thermal imaging cameras are installed and are operational 24 hours per day
  • Thermal imaging cameras can detect and distinguish between human and wildlife
  • If a detector is activated, an alert is sent to the remote monitoring company who act as required

On-going land management

We have a specialist Land Management Team responsible for implementing landscape and environmental strategy.

As well as grazing sheep, the passive nature of solar installations provides unique opportunities to create wildlife habitats, a safe haven for pollinators and improved biodiversity through careful, environmentally-sensitive land management.

Natural screening is provided by existing hedges which are maintained and improved when necessary.  New hedgerows of indigenous flora can be planted, usually in 3 rows that reach maturity at 4 years.  Where instant screening is required, planting includes more mature trees of 2-2.5m high.

End-of-life policy

In the UK, a solar farm’s operational life is usually related to planning consent – 30 years.  The land retains its agricultural classification unless it was a brownfield site.

Our policy is to remove all equipment and return the land to its original state.  Many components are re-saleable and the panels go to a specialist recycling organisation.

THE LAND REQUIREMENTS

There are a number of considerations related to identification of the perfect solar site and a few which rule out a site automatically, such as no capacity on the local grid.  Below is a list of our preferred site criteria.

Preferred site criteria

  • Up to 200 acres in as few fields as possible to minimise shading from hedges
  • Ideally, land that is flat or that has a gentle south-facing slope
  • Free of large trees and shrubs or anything that might create large periods of shade across the middle of the land
  • Preferably, lower grade land or a brownfield site
  • Away from listed buildings and monuments
  • Minimal visibility from residential properties
  • Easily accessible by large vehicles for construction purposes.