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Solar farm near Newport could get permission despite planning rejection

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A solar farm south of Newport in Wales could be given planning permission even though the application for it was refused one month before.

The planning application to use the 21-acre site at Cefn Llogell Farm for collecting solar energy was originally rejected by Newport City Council’s planning committee.

However, due to the fact that a Government inspector has overturned another of the local planners’ decisions – to reject proposals for a nearby 14.3 acre solar site – the decision could change after committee members consented to reconsider the Cefn Llogell Farm application later this week.

Newport council’s planning rules stipulate that any application decision can be reconsidered if “there is a new material consideration in the intervening period between the resolution and the issue of a decision notice”.

The planners’ stance is that the aforementioned circumstance applies to Cefn Llogell Farm, due to the fact that they decided to reconsider the planning refusal only two days later.

Two weeks ago, the same committee gave approval for a 17.5 hectare solar farm, even though the local community strongly opposed the move – 570 signatures were collected on a dedicated petition and more than 100 official objection letters were sent.

Government pressure, combined with different local council rules, are having a significant impact on the planning decisions being made for renewable energy projects across the UK, and many local communities are feeling pushed out of decision making processes.

Campaigners against Cefn Llogell Farm, for example, have emphasised that there will be a negative impact on the immediate landscape and that the land is more valuable in its current state, for farming purposes.

Keep Us Rural – one of the groups hoping to convince planners to maintain their original decision for the site – have also highlighted that Wales is already expected to meet its renewable energy targets, meaning that permission does not have to be given to unnecessary projects.