Milford Haven Port Authority’s plans to move away from the water and harness the power of the sun looks likely to get the green light.
The Authority is applying to Pembrokeshire County Council for temporary 25-year permission for 20,000 fixed photovoltaic cells on an area covering 12.3 hectares on land to the south east of Court Road, Liddeston, Milford Haven.
The photovoltaic cell panels would measure 1 metre by 1.7metres and in total would provide a generating capacity of 5MW.
Four fields to the north of Haven’s Head Business Park would be used and it would take about three months to construct the farm, with the cells grouped together in stacks of two mounted racks at a 30 degree angle, at 7.5metre intervals with a maximum height of 2.5metres.
The plans, which are recommended for approval by planning officers, are due to be discussed by the council planning committee today (Tuesday).
Conditions suggested by planning officers include restoration of the site at the end of its life and restoration of the site if it is inoperative for more than six months.
Details of lighting, a landscape mitigation scheme, including details of existing tree and hedge management, will be submitted at a later date.
A planning report states: “The development would occupy an urban fringe setting. The clustered solar arrays would generally run with the contours of the existing and proposed planting would soften the landscape impact of the land development over time. Distant views of the site are not significant and the scale of the impact from outside the site, including areas of the PCNP would be minimal.
“It is acknowledged that the proposal would be visible from the residential properties at Hubberston, Liddeston and east of Havens Head Business Park, however, it is not considered that the impact on the landscape would warrant refusal, subject to conditions requiring further details and implementation of the proposed mitigation.”
Four letters of representation were received including one anonymous letter of support, one referring to employment and training opportunities and two expressing concerns which included the proximity of footpaths, glint and glare and the impact upon badgers and bats.
Speaking about the development, Milford Haven Port Authority’s energy development manager Tim James said: “We carried out feasibility studies of all types of renewable energy options on the land.
“A wind energy development was also considered, but we chose a photovoltaic array to minimise environmental impacts.” He added: “We also know that Pembrokeshire is one of the best places in the UK to install solar panels; monitoring of the existing arrays over the past nine months shows 24% greater production than expected – despite the wettest summer in 100 years.”