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50MW English solar farm approved




A planning application for a 50MW solar farm on a former coal mine in County Durham, England, has been approved by councillors.


Bluefield Renewable Developments, a UK-based renewable energy business, secured permission to create a 49.9MW PV asset at Bluestone Farm – to the north of Cockfield and south-east of the village of High Lands.


Once operational, the developer said the project will generate significant renewable energy, reduce reliance on imported fossil fuels and help Durham County Council to achieve its ambitious climate change goals - having declared a climate emergency in 2019.


The solar farm will generate enough electricity to power approximately 13,000 households annually. This would represent a projected carbon emission reduction of around 8,700 tonnes, the equivalent of taking around 5000 cars off the road each year.


Although not a planning requirement, the scheme will also see Bluefield establish a £400,000 community fund set aside for local energy and energy efficiency initiatives.


An open cast and deep coal mining site prior to its use for grazing sheep, the site of the proposed solar farm was carefully chosen to minimise visual impact said Bluefield. The majority of the site is well screened by existing belts of established trees and hedgerows and additional planting will provide further cover and enhance the area's biodiversity.

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