Comhampton Solar Farm

7th June, 2023

16:30 – 19:30

Hartlebury Parish Hall, Waresley Court Road, Hartlebury, Worcestershire DY11 7TQ

Comhampton Solar Farm

Latest Update

A public consultation event was held on June 7th, 2023, at Hartlebury Parish Hall, where the proposed plan was showcased for the local community to review. Now, we have a meeting scheduled with the parish council members on July 7th, 2023. This meeting will provide an opportunity for council members to discuss the feedback received during the public consultation to us and resolve any concerns they have.

Tyler Hill Renewables Limited is preparing to submit a proposal for a solar farm and intends to conduct a consultation process with both residents and businesses within the surrounding area prior to the submission of a planning application. The site will be known as Comhampton Solar Farm, located on fields at Comhampton and Little Acton, DY13 9TD.

The site comprises several large fields in two separate parcels totalling approximately 26 hectares, connected by underground cables to the local electricity network. The development will export around 18 megawatts (MW) of clean renewable energy to the local area, which equates to powering over 7760 homes a year. This will offset 4493 tonnes of CO2 per year, making a vital contribution to climate change targets and the country’s transition away from fossil fuels.

The site is currently farmed for arable crops. The solar farm will be designed to allow sheep to graze under and around the panels during operation, providing a dual benefit of agriculture and energy generation. No agricultural land will be lost as the land will be reinstated to its former use at the end of the lifecycle of the solar project estimated to be between 25 and 40 years.

Why Here?

Tyler Hill Renewables Limited is committed to prioritizing sustainability, and as such, they recognize the immense potential for enhancing biodiversity on the proposed site. This can be achieved by creating new habitat for birds, butterflies and insects. It is worth noting that the removal of trees should not be necessary. By implementing these measures, Tyler Hill Renewables Limited aims to augment the biodiversity of the site compared with existing fields.

The electricity network (or grid) was not designed for the complexities of zero carbon energy. Consequently, there are relatively few locations where the grid can viably accommodate a solar farm, with proximity to existing substations or overhead power lines being crucial.

Grid analysis has identified capacity at the Bishop’s Wood Substation and has established it as a point of connection. Due to the expense at this point of connection, a potential site must be no more than 1.8 km away from the point of connection to make the site financially viable.

Within this 1.8km radius study area, land was sought that was of a suitable size, that was not constrained by important landscape or cultural designations, where no major infrastructure barriers needed to be crossed, such as railway lines, and that had a landowner willing to lease the land for at least 40 years. No suitable previously developed or non-agricultural land was identified. Several site options on farmland were assessed and the proposed site was chosen as meeting all development criteria, providing the greatest benefits and having the fewest environmental or cultural constraints.

The Proposal

Solar farms use photovoltaic (PV) panels to generate energy from daylight and distribute it through the existing electricity network to homes and businesses in the local area and nationwide. The solar PV arrays will be laid out in south facing rows and will not exceed 3m high at their highest point. They will be fixed to the ground by metal racks positioned within the existing field boundaries, minimising the need to remove hedges or trees.
The development will also include ancillary equipment, including:
  • Inverters to convert the direct current (DC) electricity output from the solar arrays into usable alternating current (AC) power for the electricity distribution network.
  • Transformers to step up the low voltage electricity produced by the solar panels to high voltage needed by the network.
  • An onsite substation and another larger 66kV substation offsite close to the point of connection to the network. These form the interface between our solar farm and the electricity distribution network.
  • An onsite substation and another larger 66kV substation offsite close to the point of connection to the network. These form the interface between our solar farm and the electricity distribution network.
  • A 2m high post and wire deer fence will be constructed around the development, with vehicle gates.
  • CCTV cameras will be installed to provide security coverage of the site. These will only monitor the development areas and will not capture images outside of the fenced off internal area of the solar farm.
  • There will be no lighting used on site.
  • Underground cables will connect the two solar areas and the distribution network. There will be no new overhead pylons or cables.
The layout has been designed to minimise the impact on nearby residents, including setting the development away from properties, retaining and planting new hedges for screening and using Owlhill Lane as the main site access. At the end of its 40-year operational life, the equipment will be removed and the entire site restored to its current use. This will be secured through a planning condition and a decommissioning fund which is part of the land agreements securing Tyler Hill Renewables Limited’ legal obligation to the landowner. The computer-generated images illustrate what the development will look like from viewpoints around the site. It shows the Current view, Day 1 view post installation of the solar panels and Year 10 views showing the additional mitigations proposed

Traffic and Access

Once operational, solar farms generate almost no traffic. Visits for maintenance are required every few months. The construction process is rapid, lasting only a few months. Site access to the eastern parcel is expected to be taken from the A449 via Owlhill Lane and will turn into the existing farm access located to the south of the site. To minimise disruption to residents and local roads, it is anticipated that equipment would then be decanted at a temporary construction compound and delivered by way of smaller vehicles to the western parcels, though this will be confirmed following detailed analysis in a Transport Statement.

Benefits of Comhampton Solar Farm

The proposed solar farm will contribute to the county’s growing need for clean electricity generation. In recent years, solar power has become one of the lowest cost forms of energy generation, and it can now be constructed and operated without public subsidies. Solar farms are clean and produce no pollution in operation. They make very little noise during operation and should not be audible outside the site. As is will be positioned within existing fields and is no higher than 3m tall, it can be screened from many views.

It will bring considerable environmental and community benefits, including:

Supporting the UK’s goal of net-zero carbon by 2050 and the target of a fully decarbonised electricity network by 2035.

  • Contributing to the climate emergency declared by the Government, and Wychavon District Council’s climate vision for 2050.
  • Many farmers are struggling financially, and solar farms provide an important source of rental income. At the same time, the site has been designed to allow sheep to graze alongside the operation of the solar farm.
  • The PV arrays and equipment will only occupy a small proportion of the site, leaving scope for biodiversity enhancements and wildlife corridors. Research has shown that solar farms can play an important role in reducing the decline in biodiversity. The development will include new broad-leaved plants, grasses and other vegetation that encourage butterflies, bumblebees and birds to flourish.
  • Some minor widening of field access points may be needed for construction but existing trees and hedges will be retained.
  • New hedges and trees will be planted to screen the development and to benefit biodiversity.
  • All footpaths will remain open during the construction and operational periods.
  • Additional community benefits will be included after discussion with the Parish council.

Surveys and Assessments

To help us design the scheme and ensure that all impacts are fully understood, Tyler Hill Solar have commissioned the following surveys and assessments:

  • Landscape and visual impact assessment – this is helping us determine the maximum height of the development, the position of equipment, and to minimise the effect of the development on the surrounding area.
  • Heritage and archaeology assessments – these are considering listed buildings, scheduled monuments and conservation areas within in the area. The development has been positioned away from listed buildings, and additional screening proposed to reduce visibility. A geophysical survey has also been undertaken to help assess the potential for archaeological features below the ground.
  • Construction traffic assessment and management plan – transport specialists are helping us determine the most appropriate arrangements for construction traffic. The construction period expected to last no more than 26 weeks.
  • Arboriculture survey – this will identify important trees or hedges around the site and ensure they are retained and root protection areas maintained, where possible.
  • Flood risk assessment and surface water management survey – the site is located within Flood Zone 1 which is the lowest level of flooding. The proposed development will not increase flood risk elsewhere.
  • Ecological appraisals – ecologists have advised on the types of habitats on the site and how these, and protected species, can be protected and enhanced by the development.
  • Agricultural land grade – no agricultural land will be lost. The site is currently used for arable farming and the solar farm designed to allow sheep to graze under and around the panels during operation, providing a dual benefit of agriculture and energy generation.
  • Noise – a noise survey will help us position the inverters and transformers so that they will not be audible outside the site.
  • Glint and glare – solar panels are designed to absorb as much light as possible and the assessment confirms where additional screening is needed to minimise the effect on properties.

The Planning Process

Pre- Application

Pre-application advice was sought from Wychavon District Council on this site in June 2021, and it was concluded that the principle of the proposal for solar on this site would be acceptable subject to various further documents and assessments being undertaken as part of the planning application .

Public Consultation

A public consultation event took place on Thursday 28th April 2022. Concerns and queries of the local community were discussed, the main themes identified by the attendees of the event were visual impacts, sites location, noise, project duration, public rights of way, agricultural land, biodiversity, archaeology and the need for renewable energy. These discussions fed into our development design

Planning Submission

Following the design changes from the public engagement activities, Norchard Solar Farm plan to submit the planning application in May 2023.

Planning Determination

Following the statutory planning period of approximately 13 weeks, a decision at its earliest could be August 2023.

The Team

Comhampton Solar Farm is being developed by Tyler Hill Renewables Limited, who are vastly experienced in the development and construction of solar photovoltaic and flexible energy generation facilities. Tyler Hill Renewables Limited is a London based company, developing utility scale solar, battery storage and distributed solar projects in the United Kingdom. They are committed to work on decarbonization projects to respond to the threat of climate change and to contribute to the global transition to sustainability.

Comhampton Solar Farm Limited will also work with the landowners, local stakeholders, planners, and the power networks to supply renewable, green power into the grid for local use.

Acting on behalf of Comhampton Solar Farm Limited and Tyler Hill Renewables Limited, are our experienced planning & design consultants Third Revolution Projects, who have been working in collaboration with our team to prepare and submit the planning application for Comhampton Solar Farm. Tyler Hill Renewables Limited has also partnered with RE Projects Development Limited, who is experienced in providing customised services for utility scale PV and battery storage projects ranging from origination and initial site feasibility to development and procurement.

The Operator

Ampyr Solar Europe (ASE) is a European solar enterprise with a combined pipeline of over 6GWp of large-scale ground-mount solar projects in the UK, Germany and the Netherlands. The team consists of 75 experienced renewable energy professionals and is headquartered in London, with offices in Maastricht, Utrecht, Frankfurt and Berlin.

ASE has secured a €400 million loan facility from CarVal Investors to develop, construct, own and operate a portfolio of European Solar Assets. The UK team alone has 55MWp of projects under construction with over 300MWp of advanced stage projects in the pipeline. Combined with several hundred MW of projects in construction in mainland Europe, ASE’s plans to become a significant major European Independent Power Producer (IPP) are well underway.

ASE’s relationship with Tyler Hill Renewables will help them to significantly accelerate their deployment of capital in the UK and expand their base as a leading European IPP.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • The Government commissioned an independent paper on National Food Strategy, which was published in late 2021 (https://www.nationalfoodstrategy.org/the-report/).  It made a few key observations:
  • The next big shock to our food supply will almost certainly be caused by climate change in the form of extreme weather events and catastrophic harvest failures.  It follows that addressing climate change will improve the security of or food supply. 
  • Food security is not the same as food self-sufficiency.  Growing all of the food that we requirement in this country would be a high-risk approach as one bad season (drought / flood etc) would damage our entire supply.  Instead, food security is best delivered by diversifying our supply chain and importing a proportion of our requirement to spread the risk to supply. 
  • We do not have the climate to allow us to grow all of the food that consumers want in this country.  Similarly, we cannot consume all of some types of food that we can grow, so import and export of food is an important part of our national food strategy. 
  • The UK’s Agricultural Report for 2020/21 notes that 71% of our land is used for farming (https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/agriculture-in-the-united-kingdom-2021/summary) 
  • Solar Energy UK published a paper about the Facts About Solar Energy (https://solarenergyuk.org/resource/everything-under-the-sun-the-facts-about-solar-energy/?cn-reloaded=1 ).  In it, they note that to meet the government’s net zero target, the Climate Change Committee estimates that we will need between 75-90GW of solar by 2050. Their analysis indicates this would mean solar farms would at most account for approximately 0.4-0.6% of UK land – less than the amount currently used for golf courses or growing Christmas trees. 
  • This means that we would need to use less than 1% of the land currently in use for food production in order to meaningfully mitigate an existential threat to our food security.  Given that climate change is already causing significant (much greater than 1%) downturn in crop yields, this seems like a very sensible thing to do. 

Absolutely. Solar works efficiently everywhere in the UK as solar panels do not require direct sunlight to operate. They produce energy all year round and have the potential to produce over a quarter of the UK’s power on sunny days. 

No, they take up very little space. Even under 2050 Net Zero targets, where the installed capacity is expected to grow from the current 14GW to 70GW, solar farms would occupy 0.5% of the UK’s land, which is less than what is currently used for golf courses and airpor

Not at all. Research shows that solar panel’s carbon payback is 1-4 years. They generate a hundred times more energy than it takes to manufacture them over a 40-year warranty period.  

A UK survey found that solar farms can support declining wildlife species, especially when managed for conservation. Birds like linnets, yellowhammers, and skylarks were observed, along with mammals like brown hares. Solar farms also provide habitats for butterflies and bees, potentially benefiting nearby agriculture through increased pollination. The report emphasizes the importance of conservation-focused management to promote biodiversity on solar farms. Well-designed and well-managed solar farms can contribute to addressing climate change and biodiversity loss. (https://solarenergyuk.org/news/solar-farms-can-be-wildlife-havens/)

You can most definitely recycle solar panels! Up to 99% of materials in a solar panel are recyclable and are built to last for decades. 

According to government surveys, solar is considered the most popular energy source. Records from 2021 show that 90% of public support solar, with 81% saying that they would not oppose a solar farm being built in their area.

Thank you for taking the time to look at our proposals. We would love to hear your views on our proposals and Tyler Hill Solar will use your feedback to finalise the proposals before submitting the application to Wychavon District Council.

We will be holding a public event on Wednesday 7th June 2023 between 16:30 – 19:30 at Hartlebury Parish Hall, Waresley Court Road, Hartlebury, Worcestershire DY11 7TQ

Please let us know your views on or before 23rd June, 2023 via this questionnaire here. Alternatively, you can get in contact through our email address: planning@tylerhillrenewables.com

The Council will undertake further public consultation before determining the application. The Council has 13 weeks to make its decision.

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