BELVOIR SOLAR FARM
JBM Solar is proposing a renewable energy scheme on land within Belvoir Estate, Grantham, NG32 1PE. It is envisaged that Belvoir Solar Farm will have a generating capacity of up to 49.9 megawatts. The scheme will support government legislation to decarbonise our energy system and ensure the UK is carbon neutral by 2050.
Due to the unprecedented times we find ourselves in, we are unable to hold a face to face public consultation event. The COVID-19 pandemic is at the forefront of all decisions that we make, however, we still want to share with you our plans for Belvoir Solar Farm. This website has been set-up to do just that, so please feel free to browse the website and use the ‘contact us’ page if you have any questions or wish to make a representation/suggestion.
Please note this consultation period has now closed, further details will be updated following application submission
About JBM Solar
JBM Solar has a proven track record of developing well-designed solar projects throughout the UK and Ireland since 2012. Our development team has secured planning permission for more than 350mw of solar projects to date. We are focused on providing solar electricity, helping to establish a more sustainable, low carbon future.
Where is the site?
The site is located on land within Belvoir Estate, c. 0.3km to the west of Muston and c.1km to the south-east of Bottesford. The site falls within the administrative boundary of Melton Borough Council.
Why are Solar Farms Important?
The National Infrastructure Committee have advised the government that by 2030, a minimum of 50% of power should come from renewables. A climate change emergency was declared by Melton Borough Council on 17 July 2019 whereby the council resolved to a Climate Change Policy Development Group to develop an action plan for how the Council will work towards ensuring its operations become carbon neutral by 2030 and further promote a cutting of emissions within the wider Borough of Melton.
Latest government energy statistics reveal that in 2019 fossil fuels remain the dominant source of energy supply, accounting for 79.4%. Just 11% of energy consumption came from renewable sources. Increasing the supply of energy by renewable sources represents a significant challenge for the UK.
In June 2020, the Committee on Climate Change published its Reducing UK Emissions report1 which provides an annual review of UK progress in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The report states that energy networks must be strengthened in order to support the electrification of transport and heating. Delivery of renewable energy generation must continue to progress with great urgency in order to meet the UK’s next carbon budget. Consistently strong deployment of low-carbon generation is crucial to achieving the Net Zero target.
The site has been carefully selected as part of a detailed feasibility process. Consideration has been given to, amongst other things; grid capacity, solar irradiation, environmental designations, cultural heritage, ecology/bi-diversity, flood risk and agricultural quality. Technical studies are reports are still being conducted to ensure that this site is the most appropriate for a solar installation.
Landscape and Visual
There are no landscape features either within or immediately adjacent to the land which have any particular sensitivity that would inhibit the development of a well-designed solar farm at this location. The site is not situated within or near a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).
The site lies within an area of relatively flat, agricultural landscape, interspersed with numerous villages and hedgerows set within the Vale of Belvoir. The site is generally contained and screened by existing vegetation and topography in local short and medium distance views.
In order to assist with understanding the potential visibility of the scheme from the surrounding landscape, a digital Screened Zone of Theoretical Visibility (SZTV) model has been created.
The ZTV models are based on a ‘screened’ scenario whereby the existing screening effect of substantive areas of existing vegetation or built features in the landscape are taken into account (assuming a height of 15m for woodland and 8m for buildings). The SZTVs were also modelled at a ’worst case’ maximum panel height of 3m above current ground levels based on the full landholdings shown in each parcel of land whereas the actual land take required for the solar modules will be proportionately smaller.
Due to the local topography, whereby the area surrounding the land parcel is relatively flat, the greatest effect on visual amenity is likely to be experienced within 2km of the site, particularly to the west and south. The ZTV shows that the site will not be clearly visible from viewpoints beyond c.1-2km to the north and east. Beyond a 2km radius to the south-west, the ZTV illustrates that the site will likely be visible in parts. However, from more distant viewpoints the development would tend be assimilated into the wider landscape and it is considered that there is little potential for the development to result in any significant effects on visual receptors at lower level viewpoints. ZTVs presents an estimate in terms of theoretical visibility and the actual extent of the area from which the proposed solar farm would be visible is likely to be much small.
There are several Public Rights of Ways (footpaths and bridleways) within and around site, and throughout the wider surrounding landscape which pass through open fields, with views of the surrounding arable land. These footpaths will be retained.
In term of heritage assets, there are several listed buildings in the wider locality. There are no World Heritage Sites, or sites included on the Tentative List of Future Nominations for World Heritage Sites (January 2012), situated within the parcel of land or its surrounds. Belvoir Castle, a Grade I listed building and registered park & garden and conservation area is located over 1.5km to the south of the application site.
Ecology and Biodiversity
There are no environmental designations within the site. Muston Meadows, a Site of Special Scientific Interest and National Nature Reserve, adjoins the site to the south and is split into two separate land parcels.
The site is in Flood Zone 1, as confirmed by the Environment Agency. Flood Zone 1 has the least risk of flooding. There are ditches within field boundaries forming small watercourses.
Highways and Access
Access to the site will be gained via the existing access point on Castle View Road. Castle View Road is a single carriageway providing a link between the A52 in the north and Belvoir Road in the south. The A52 connects Nottingham to Grantham. Castle View Road is accessed via a simple priority junction with the A52.
Agricultural Land Classification
A detailed ALC survey has been undertaken on site that has guided the site selection process to this stage. The ALC survey found that the red line included land parcels of Grade 3b quality. The proposed site is therefore not considered best and most versatile land, as per Annex 2 of the NPPF (2019).
Environmental Designations Plan
Screened Zone of Theoretical Visibility Plan
JBM seeks to construct, operate, maintain and the decommission a ground mounted solar farm with a maximum export capacity of 49.9 megawatts.
Construction material deliveries will arrive by HGV vehicles, whilst construction staff will arrive via commercial vans. Construction of the scheme will last no longer than 6 months.
The application proposal would also include a package of landscape, ecological and biodiversity benefits that could include the installation of barn owl boxes, bird nesting boxes, bee hives, log piles, restoration of traditional field boundaries, and other hibernacula such as small buried rubble piles suitable for reptile species, amphibians and insect life. These biodiversity enhancement measures would be set out in any future application in a Landscape and Ecological Management Plan (LEMP). These measures will complement the wildlife habitat present at the Muston Meadows SSSI and National Nature Reserve. The site at present represents intensively managed agricultural land with a lack of vegetation. Therefore, the proposals that will be set out in a future LEMP will enhance the biodiversity of the site. Any future planning application would be accompanied by an Ecological Impact Assessment, which will set out all mitigation strategies for the Local Planning Authority’s approval.
The main benefits of the development proposed are summarised below:
The site would generate enough renewable energy to power the equivalent annual energy needs of 15,000 homes, making a significant contribution to local clean power and regional renewable targets.
The scheme would displace the equivalent of 858,280 tonnes of CO2 from equivalent fossil fuel energy generation over the lifespan of 40 years.
The scheme would allow Melton Borough Council to play its part in reducing greenhouse gas emissions in line with local, national and international targets.
The farm will be subsidy free. Belvoir Solar Farm has been designed to be constructed and operated without any government subsidy. Solar is now one of the most cost-effective sources of clean renewable energy in the UK.
The site will be subject to considerable biodiversity and landscape enhancements. Both will be carefully managed with a Landscape and Ecological Management Plan.
The site can be used for grazing throughout the operation of the solar farm and can be returned to its original agricultural use following decommissioning.
The Benefits of Belvoir Solar Farm
Please provide any comments you have on the proposal in the text box below. You can also submit comments by email or post using the details provided.
Please note this consultation period has now closed, further details will be updated following application submission.
Belvoir Solar Farm,
C/O Pegasus Group,
Querns Business Centre,
Cirencester, GL7 1RT