Plans for a new solar energy scheme to the east of Leeds have won the backing of Leeds City Council’s planning committee.
Banks Renewables put forward a planning application for the proposed new Barnsdale solar energy park between Kippax and Allerton Bywater that would be able to generate enough electricity to meet the annual requirements of up to 12,000 family homes.
The scheme was supported by both Allerton Bywater and Kippax Parish Councils, and after being recommend for approval by the City Council’s expert planning officers, it has now won unanimous support from the members of its planning committee.
Barnsdale will include solar panels covering an area of around 50 hectares of south-facing land and will link directly into the Ledston Primary electricity sub-station which sits to the south east of the site along Barnsdale Road.
Its detailed ecology and biodiversity strategy will see the biggest increase in biodiversity for any project within Leeds to date, and includes extensive wildflower meadows, wetland habitat, native trees, scrub and hedgerow planting.
Banks Renewables is hoping that work will start on site early next year, and as part of its policy of delivering tangible benefits to the local communities in which its operations are based, over £800,000 of the revenues generated by Barnsdale will be directed into a community fund that will provide grants to support local community groups and voluntary organisations over its lifetime.
The family-owned firm 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 224MW, including the Hook Moor wind farm near Leeds and three others in Yorkshire.
Lewis Stokes, community relations manager at The Banks Group, adds: “Having had a recommendation for approval for this scheme from Leeds City Council’s planning officers, as well as support from both Allerton Bywater and Kippax Parish Councils, we’re very pleased that the City Council’s planning committee has been minded to unanimously support our exciting proposals.
“We’ve long been part of the drive to generate as much of the electricity that we all use in our homes, schools and workplaces as possible from renewable means, and the Barnsdale solar energy park will further extend the contribution that we are making in Yorkshire to decarbonise electricity generation and accelerate the UK’s journey towards Net Zero.
“This project is located in the only site in Leeds suitable for this size and scale of solar energy development, and marks the latest stage of our continuing investment in Yorkshire, which has included the development of four onshore wind farms across the county, several residential property schemes and the opening of a new office to the north of Leeds just last year.
“We’re very grateful to the many local residents and stakeholders who have supported this project and will keep communities informed of progress as we work towards realising our vision of delivering a wide range of environmental, ecological and community benefits through the Barnsdale solar energy park.”
Local residents, businesses and community groups can find out more about the plans for the Barnsdale solar energy park by visiting www.banksgroup.co.uk/barnsdalesolar