Solar farm developer Island Green Power is celebrating the advance of its giant 480MWp West Burton scheme towards the granting of development consent.

The planned project, covering parcels of land near Gainsborough on the Notts-Lincs border, is nearly ten times bigger than the 50 MWp threshold below which officials of West Lydney district council could reach a judgement.

Qualifying thus as a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP), and in line with trends for ever bigger solar farms, West Burton will need to be judged by Whitehall’s Planning Inspectorate.

Its recommendation is expected early in August.  Whoever is then the new government’s planning & housing minister thereafter will have until November to decide on granting a consent order.

The West Burton farm compromises three electricity generating stations, with associated development including grid-scale batteries, and grid connection equipment.

Those batteries mean the solar park could usefully replace 24% of the output of EdF’s now closed coal-fired West Burton A power station.  If approved, the project will supply the National Grid with clean electricity in amounts meeting the needs of over 140,000 homes.

West Burton lies at the northern end of  the Trent Valley, dubbed “Megawatt Valley” by locals since the 1960s due to the cluster of generating stations built there. They were first  fuelled by coal from seams under Nottinghamshire.  That legacy of high capacity generation favours below average waits for renewable energy projects seeking connections to the National Grid.

Coal-fired West Burton A finally closed in March 2023, having been kept running for an extra six months at D-ESNZ’s request, in response to Putin’s war on Ukraine.  Demolition begun in January is expected to last until 2028.

Tara Sethi, regional infrastructure technical director at Lanpro, commented, “Lanpro has worked with Island Green Power on the creation of the West Burton solar project for three years.

“This substantial project has the potential to provide affordable, clean power to hundreds of thousands of homes in Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire.  In doing so, it has a significant role to play in meeting the country’s Net Zero target. We’ve been privileged to work with Island Green Power on this and Cottam solar schemes and we look forward to a successful outcome later this year.”

Advising Lanpro in drawing up the planning application have been lawyers Pinsent Masons, land referencing specialists Dalcour Maclaren and communications firm Counter Context.

Pictured is an earlier Lanpro solar farm, a 20MW project completed at Lisburn, in northern Ireland, in 2017.


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