Yanel Solar Farm Limited, a joint venture project between BayWa r.e. UK and Grüne Energien, is proposing to build a 49.9 megawatt (MW) solar farm on land at Yanel Farm, next to Congresbury Solar Farm and north of Sandford.
In February 2021, we participated in the online Churchill and Langford Parish council meeting where we listened to concerns regarding the use of Common Lane for our construction access into the solar site. Based on this feedback we have identified an alternative route for construction access that avoids Common Lane (further details can be found in the Construction Traffic section below). We value the input of the local community and we encourage you to contact us using the contact details at the right side of the page if you have any any further questions.
An application to construct and operate the solar farm has now been submitted to North Somerset Council under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (as amended). The reference for the application is 22/P/1450/FUL.
This Yanel Solar Farm project information page will remain available throughout the planning application process.
About the project
Yanel Farm is located next to Congresbury Solar Farm, north of Sandford. The current proposal is for up to 49.9MW peak (DC) power ground-mounted solar farm, which will deliver up to a maximum of 40MW AC of renewable electricity for distribution. This will power the equivalent of 14,000 homes. The application is seeking consent for a period of 40 years and will be decommissioned and removed at the end of this period.
The site covers 66 hectares of land classified as lower grade agricultural land (3b and 4) and is suitable for sheep farming.
The site lies north of the settlement of Sandford at the end of Common Lane, a private road serving Yanel Farm and residential properties. Common Lane is also used as a Public Right of Way (PRoW) footpath. The site is crossed by “The Strawberry Line”, a former Chedder Valley railway line which has been converted to a leisure walking and cycling route.
This walking and cycling route will remain open for public use throughout construction and the life of the solar farm.
Our original proposal utilised Common Lane as the construction access route but after consultation with the local community, we determined that an alternative route which would not require temporary closure or diversion of Common Lane would be preferable. We have found an alternative construction access route that utilises land owned by third parties and the landowners of the solar site, and we are pleased to have found a solution that prevents disruption to users of Common Lane.
If the project is awarded consent the construction phase would start in 2023 and take around six months to complete. To build the project the construction traffic would consist of approximately five lorry deliveries, avoiding peak times, particularly school drop off and pick up times.
The construction traffic route will be taken from the west via the Thatcher's Orchards. Traffic will use the A38, the main road between Bristol and linking to junction 22 of the M5 to the south. The proposed construction route travels west along the A368 and then north onto the Nye Road.
Once the solar farm is operational, access will be required for Operations and Maintenance teams which will consist of one small van every few days. Access will be taken via Common Lane and then through the orchard to the east of Common Lane, on an existing access track which will be upgraded.
A Heritage Impact Assessment was carried out for the site which identified heritage assets within and beyond the site boundary. It was found that the site likely formed part of the agricultural hinterland for the identified Romano-British settlements at Congresbury and Banwell. From the medieval period onwards, the site was used as an agricultural land. It is likely due to the historic use of the site any surviving features are likely to comprise of agricultural remains of limited heritage significance.
Ecology and landscape
A combination of desk studies and site surveys have been undertaken for the site. The desk studies identified that there are two special scientific interest (SSSI) located in proximity to the proposed site; Yanal Bog SSSI located directly adjacent to the proposed site on the southern border and Puxton Moor SSSI is located 350m to the northwest.
An Extended Phase 1 Habitat survey identified a typical range of habitats at the proposed site. Currently the proposed site consists of approximately 40 fields dissected by the network of various mature hedgerows, wet and dry ditches (rhynes), and occasional woodland bordering arable, improved and poor semi-improved grassland fields and public bridleways. The current layout design will utilise the gaps in the existing hedgerow for access and retain the network of existing rhynes and mature trees on the site.
We have an opportunity on this site to create an ecologically rich environment, not dissimilar to nature reserves, which will achieve a ‘biodiversity net gain’ by increasing wildlife and habitat. We will achieve this by creating new wildflower meadows, planting new native hedgerows and, to a large part, leaving the fields to nature. The site will attract all sorts of wildlife, including; hares, hedgehogs, buzzards, butterflies, grasshoppers, beetles, honeybees and badger, as well as other protected species.
To support the application for Yanel Solar Farm we commissioned a noise assessment to detail any noise arising from the operation of the solar farm. Following background noise monitoring at nearby receptors and acoustic modelling it was reported that noise emissions during the operational lifetime would be acceptable at all residential locations for daytime and night-time periods.
- The proposals would provide enough electricity to power approximately 14,000 homes annually
- Due to the nature of solar farm technology, we can also continue to farm sheep and improve the wildlife and ecology habitat through planting and other measures
- Business rates would be retained by North Somerset Council as a new source of income
We have now submitted the application to North Somerset Council Planning. The application documents will be available to view and download on the North Somerset Council planning portal under the project reference 22/P/1450/FUL.
If you would like to discuss the proposal please get in touch using the contact details on the right hand side of this page, or by email.