Solar energy park plans recommended for approval

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Proposals for a new solar energy scheme to the east of Leeds have been recommended for approval by the city council’s planning officers.

Banks Renewables submitted an application for the new Barnsdale solar energy park between Kippax and Allerton Bywater in November last year.

The scheme, which has been supported by both Allerton Bywater Parish Council and Kippax Parish Council, would include solar panels covering an area of around 50 hectares of south-facing land.

It would link directly into the Ledston Primary electricity sub-station which sits to the south east of the site along Barnsdale Road.

It would be able to generate enough electricity to meet the annual requirements of up to 12,000 family homes and would also see a detailed ecology and biodiversity strategy being delivered to ensure the site provides a net local benefit in biodiversity.

As part of Banks Renewables’ policy of delivering tangible benefits to the local communities in which its operations are based, over £800,000 of the revenues generated by the project would be directed into a benefits fund that would provide grants for local charities, community groups and good causes over the lifetime of the project.

The plans are now expected to go before Leeds City Council’s planning committee on Thursday 10 June, with Banks Renewables hoping work will start on site early next year if it is approved.

Lewis Stokes, community relations manager at The Banks Group, said: “We’re really pleased with the generally positive welcome that the Barnsdale project has had from many local residents and stakeholders, and we very much welcome Leeds City Council’s planning officers’ recommendation that it should go ahead.

“The UK has set itself ambitious targets for renewable energy generation and we’ve long been part of the drive towards generating as much of the energy that we all use in our homes, schools and workplaces as possible from renewable means.

“The Barnsdale solar energy park will further extend the contribution we can make and has been located in the most appropriate area for a scheme of this type.

“Our vision is to deliver a wide range of environmental, ecological and community benefits through the Barnsdale solar energy park and hope Leeds City Council’s planning committee will follow its officers’ recommendation.”