In a significant stride towards clean energy and sustainability, Voltis Renewables has been given planning permission for a 41-megawatt solar project in the north-east of England. Located in County Durham, the West House Solar Farm scheme marks a promising development in the region's renewable energy landscape.
One of the standout aspects of this project is the remarkable support it garnered from the local community. More than 100 letters giving support were received, a testament to Voltis Renewables' proactive approach to community engagement. The developer was praised by councillors for their collaborative efforts with the community, emphasising the importance of early engagement and thorough selection of the site in securing approval.
This solar project goes beyond electricity generation; it embodies sustainability in various facets. The project involves the restoration of trees and hedgerows to provide food and shelter for local wildlife. A grass mix rich in species is to be sown across the entire site to promote soil health and the establishment of a wild flower meadow area will serve as a crucial resource for pollinators in the area.
A noteworthy aspect of the project is its commitment to sustainable farming practices. By restoring the land to grass and expanding sheep rearing, the project aims to increase the biodiversity of the farm. This approach not only supports a more financially viable and sustainable approach to farming but also empowers future generations to make decisions which benefit the farm's long-term interests.
The West House Solar Farm scheme seeks to benefit the local community as well. It will establish a community benefit fund, providing an annual payment of more than £15,000. Additionally, the project will contribute to the broader community around Durham by paying standard business rates.