Ashford Borough Council in Kent wants to build and run its own solar farm. Following advice from the Association for Public Service Excellence (APSE) the proposal is for a 9MWp project on a 50 acre site at Shadoxhurst purchased by the council in 2017.
The council cabinet has agreed that, subject to planning approval and public consultation, a solar farm is the optimal use for the site and would provide a significant income stream while having a low environmental impact. It is estimated that the project could generate £7m over a 25-year period, which the council says would help securing future council services in a challenging economic climate.
The next step in the process is to carry out a local consultation with parish councils and the community which will inform the planning application. If the project then proceeds to a formal planning application then there will be a further statutory consultation. Further expertise would also be sought at planning and procurement stage from APSE.
Developing a solar farm will add to a corporate property portfolio which already includes office blocks, a shopping centre, Elwick Place cinema and leisure complex, industrial estates and a business park.
Cllr Graham Galpin, portfolio holder for Corporate Property said: “At Ashford Borough Council we are proactively seeking ways in which we can secure funding in order to continue providing the services our residents need.
“We also feel it is our duty to take the lead on improving air quality by producing electricity through greener, more sustainable means.
“Of course, we will be carrying out a comprehensive local consultation as part of the planning process and, should the project come to fruition I am confident that this project will enable us to secure income in a way that actually has a positive effect on our borough’s carbon footprint.”
- This article was first published on The Energyst’s sister site, New Power.