Telford council to challenge government solar farm
Telford & Wrekin Council says it will legally challenge the government’s decision to allow Steeraway Solar Farm to go ahead.
It argues that the Planning Inspector who considered the case did not properly apply planning policies and goes against the views of its community, planning officers and committee.
The government approved plans to place 77,000 solar panels on the Steeraway site, adding to the nearby “intrusive” New Works Lane. Together, these sites extend to 230 acres, the equivalent of 174 football pitches.
The council’s planning committee refused planning permission for the 99-acre solar farm at New Works, and a government appointed local planning inspector agreed with its decision. However, a minister at the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities overruled this in March 2023, giving the solar farm the green light.
In May 2023, another appointed planning inspector then approved the Steeraway Solar Farm development. In making thee decision, the inspector considered the Secretary of State’s decision at New Works and relied on this heavily to justify the decision to approve the second development.
Councillor Shaun Davies, leader of Telford & Wrekin Council said: “On the stroke of a pen, Whitehall have sealed the fate of some of our most strategically important and much valued landscape. The Steeraway Solar Farm site will be even more intrusive than New Works Lane, blighting the surrounds of the Wrekin for generations to come.
“As a council, we fully support the production of green energy. We are one of just a handful of councils in the country to run our own successful solar farm and as a planning authority, we have approved many solar farms in appropriate locations across the borough, but green energy should not be prioritised blindly over green space. These farms need to be built in the right places”