1. Will this affect public access to Pollards?
During construction, the PRoW that passes through the site (Arlington 8, Chalvington with Ripe 5, 39 and 40) would be temporarily diverted to avoid any conflict with the construction site and activities.
We don’t expect the development to affect any other public access arrangements for Pollards. Existing public rights of way will be maintained as far as reasonably possible.
During construction there may be some access restrictions in the immediate vicinity of construction sites; this should not significantly affect public thoroughfare, which will be maintained via suitable diversion if necessary.
2. When do you expect to begin construction?
We expect to begin construction in 2023. The Proposed Development facility is expected to be fully operational by 2024.
3. How will the development affect local roads?
During construction, there will be an increase in HGV and heavy plant traffic to and from the site via existing defined HGV routes on the local road network.
Traffic and Transport assessment will be undertaken as part of any future planning application for the site. Based on preliminary work to date, we don’t expect construction of the Proposed Development to significantly impact the traffic flow on the local road network.
While the Proposed Development is operational, minimal and infrequent vehicle access will be required for maintenance and repair purposes. This is not expected to impact traffic on the local network.
4. How do you intend to mitigate the environmental impact of the development?
We have taken care to avoid the most environmentally sensitive areas when planning this development where possible. Where possible hedgerows and trees will be maintained, and the removal of vegetation avoided. We don’t expect there to be any significant impact on local wildlife.
We have dedicated biodiversity enhancements across three fields which will likely consist of grassland and wildflower planting. These enhancements will afford benefits to the current biodiversity, minimise landscape and visual impacts, improve flooding and enhance the PRoW.
Effects would be minimised by the adoption of mitigation measures and following construction best practice standards, as identified in the Construction Environmental Management Plan.
1. What is Solar PV Technology?
Solar Photovoltaic (PV) cells directly convert sunlight into electricity. Solar PV cells are arranged on a flat panel, which is then typically mounted together on a wedge-shaped mounting structure with other panels. This entire structure taken together is called a solar array.
The solar arrays are typically arranged in long banks with space in between them to ensure that all the panels can be accessed for maintenance, and that they don’t shade each other at certain times of day. In the UK, the arrays usually face south, and the panels are angled in such a way that they capture the most possible sunlight across the day.
2. Why have we chosen this layout?
We have surveyed the site extensively, and we have designed the Proposed Development to be as sensitive as possible to existing features on site. Development has been limited to areas which are well screened from the surrounding areas, and any areas within the Site which are particularly visible have been reserved for other purposes (e.g. biodiversity enhancement) to ensure that the visual impact of the Proposed Development is minimised. The Proposed Development is set back from existing roads and residences.
The proposed layout preserves existing hedgerows and mature trees as far as is reasonably possible, by keeping panel areas within existing field boundaries. Where new tracks are required that would cross a field boundary, they have been routed through existing gaps in the hedgerow currently used by farm machinery where possible. Hedgerows/trees have been given an appropriate buffer from any panel areas, both to reduce shading on to the panels and to minimise the risk of damage to established root systems.
Any watercourses or ponds have also been given an appropriate buffer. Public rights of way have been preserved as far as reasonably possible.
3. How big is the development?
We plan to install c. 100,000 individual solar panels grouped in arrays across the Site. Each individual panel will be no more than 3m tall and will be angled to catch sunlight effectively. During peak operation, this should produce up to 49.9MW of electricity, which will be used to power the wider network.
4. Don’t the solar panels require constant sunlight/heat to produce energy?
Solar panels harness the energy in sunlight to produce electricity, and even on cloudy days there is enough light present to allow some electricity to be produced. Direct, intense sunlight will increase the output of the solar panels but is not needed for them to produce electricity. Solar schemes currently operate across the UK all year round, including in sites much further north than Pollards with more inclement weather.
We have carried out extensive energy yield assessments at the proposed site, and we are confident that the Proposed Development at Pollards can produce enough clean, renewable electricity to make development worthwhile.
5. How long do solar panels operate for?
PV arrays and systems have a typical lifespan of 30-40 years. The lifetime of the Proposed Development will depend on the duration of any planning consent.
The technology is passive and requires very little maintenance across its lifetime. They do require occasional washing to remove dirt and grime build-up on the photovoltaic surface of the panel, as this reduces their efficiency.
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