Plans are advancing to build a large solar farm over 165 acres of farmland beside a village in North Somerset, writes John Wimperis.

Solar panels could be installed across the land next to Langford and Brinsea — but 95% of that area would remain usable for sheep grazing. 

Solar farm company JBM Solar said that Honeyhall Solar Farm, as it would be called, could generate enough energy to power 13,000 homes.

The scheme is still in an early phase of the planning process but has cleared a first hurdle. A report by North Somerset Council judged: “Due to the nature of solar PV array development, the proposal is not likely to lead to significant impacts on the environment.”

The plans can therefore now proceed to an application for planning permission without the need for an environmental impact assessment.

A representative of the solar farm said: “At the moment we are just getting ready to get the submission in.”

They added that the plans had been popular locally, saying: “I think it was really positively received.”

JBM Solar ran a consultation on the plans in June and July, with an in-person consultation event held in Congresbury.

The company say the plan will allow the topsoil to recover and their plans for the farm include planting 500m of new hedgerows, along with new a orchard, woodland, meadows, and grassland to provide over 50% biodiversity net gain.

Meanwhile, the 30MW solar array would generate 24GWh per year, with battery storage on site to allow this to be saved during periods of low demand.