Plans for a new solar energy scheme to the east of Leeds have been recommended for approval by the City Council’s expert planning officers.
Banks Renewables submitted a planning application for the proposed new Barnsdale solar energy park between Kippax and Allerton Bywater in November last year and has been working across local communities to share information about the project, both in-person whenever possible and digitally.
The Barnsdale scheme, which has been supported by both Allerton Bywater Parish Council and Kippax Parish Council, would include solar panels covering an area of around 50 hectares of south-facing land and would link directly into the Ledston Primary electricity sub-station which sits to the south east of the site along Barnsdale Road.
It would be able to generate enough electricity to meet the annual requirements of up to 12,000 family homes and would also see a detailed ecology and biodiversity strategy being delivered to ensure the site provides a net local benefit in biodiversity.
As part of Banks Renewables’ policy of delivering tangible benefits to the local communities in which its operations are based, over £800,000 of the revenues generated by the project would also be directed into a benefits fund that would provide grants for local charities, community groups and good causes over the lifetime of the project.
The planning application is now expected to go before Leeds City Council’s planning committee on Thursday 10 June, with Banks Renewables hoping that work will start on site early next year if it is approved.
Family-owned Banks Renewables is one of the leading independent owner/operators in the UK’s onshore wind sector and currently operates ten wind farms with an installed capacity of 223MW, including four across Yorkshire.
Lewis Stokes, community relations manager at The Banks Group, adds: “We’re really pleased with the generally positive welcome that the Barnsdale project has had from many local residents and stakeholders, and we very much welcome Leeds City Council’s planning officers’ recommendation that it should go ahead.
“The UK has set itself ambitious targets for renewable energy generation and we’ve long been part of the drive towards generating as much of the energy that we all use in our homes, schools and workplaces as possible from renewable means.
“The Barnsdale solar energy park will further extend the contribution that we can make and has been located in the most appropriate area for a scheme of this type.
“Our vision is to deliver a wide range of environmental, ecological and community benefits through the Barnsdale solar energy park and hope Leeds City Council’s planning committee will follow its officers’ recommendation.”
Local residents, businesses and community groups can find out more about the plans for the Barnsdale solar energy park, share their views on the project and register their support for it by visiting www.banksgroup.co.uk/barnsdalesolar