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Solar energy farm gets the green light

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Ambitious plans for what will soon be one of the UK’s largest solar energy farms have been given the go-ahead by planners in recent days.

The news comes at a time when the Government is facing mounting criticism over its lack of support for the renewables sector, amid concerns that the UK is not on track to meet its own previously-agreed climate change targets.

Moray Council in Scotland has reportedly given the green light for a proposed 20 Megawatt (MW) development led by Elgin Energy to go ahead at a site near Urquhart.

Construction on the project, which will give way to the largest solar energy farm in Scotland – and one of the largest in the UK as a whole – will begin at a date yet to be agreed.

The site will one day become home to approximately 80,000 solar panels spanning an area of 47-hectares, or the equivalent of approximately 40 football pitches.

Bristol-based Elgin Energy has previously developed 24 solar projects in the UK and Ireland to date.

The group’s famous 13MW Errol Estate project, also in Scotland, is currently the largest solar farm in the country, comprising of 55,000 solar panels capable of generating enough power for approximately 3,500 homes.

Commenting on the upcoming development in Moray, Councillor Claire Feaver, Chairwoman of Moray Council’s Planning and Regulatory Services Committee, said: “A significant amount of renewable energy will be generated by this solar farm over the next 30 years.

“The opportunity to continue grazing on the land, together with the habitat management plan, will maintain and enhance the diverse range of species in and around the site. I see this as a win-win.”

A spokesperson for Elgin Energy added: “Existing field boundaries will not be disturbed and mature hedgerows will provide generous screening for the new site.

“We have contacted those neighbours in the immediate vicinity of the site and have offered to answer any queries that might arise.

“The land will remain in agricultural use in the form of sheep grazing while being used for the dual purpose of generating low-carbon renewable energy.”