Yanel Farm Solar Limited 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.
We would normally host a face to face public exhibition to share the proposals, answer questions and listen to feedback but in line with the Government guidelines on the Covid-19 pandemic, we have decided to host any community consultation events online.
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 questions or thoughts on the proposals.
The Yanel Farm Solar project information page will remain available throughout the planning application process.
Joint Development Agreement
We have entered into a joint development agreement with Grüne Energien (GE) to apply our shared technical, development and commercial expertise. Grüne Energien (GE) are our joint venture (JV) partners on this project, who also bring expertise in technical knowledge, development and commercial. Grüne Energien have over 12 years experience in solar energy, developing approximately 50 ground-mounted solar projects in the UK since 2011. The Grüne Energien solar teams are based in Germany and the UK.
Yanel Farm Ltd, is a special purpose vehicle (SPV) jointly owned by BayWa r.e. UK and Grüne Energien.
About the project
Yanel Farm is located next to Congresbury Solar Farm, north of Sandford. The current proposal is for 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 15,000 homes. The application is seeking consent for a period of 40 years and will be fully decommissioned 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. Due to the design of solar farms, the landowner could graze sheep on the entire site throughout the life of the solar farm if desired. Sheep and solar go well together, they keep the grass short, they use the panels to shelter from the elements and it’s good to be able to use the land for energy, farming and biodiversity gain.
The maximum height of the solar panels on this site will be 2.5 metres from ground level. Where screening of the site is required we are proposing to plant new hedging and trees.
To learn more about the technical infrastructure of a solar farm please click here.
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 an average of six lorry deliveries each day working Monday to Friday only, avoiding peak times, particularly school drop off and pick up times.
The construction traffic route would come from junction 21 on the M5, travelling east to Congresbury on the A370 and then south to Churchill via the B3133, avoiding Sandford, and accessing the site from Common Lane, as shown in the map below.
Once the solar farm is operational, access will be required for light vehicles for our Operations and Maintenance teams.
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 need for the project
The plans are in response to a pressing need to create a cleaner energy supply and combat the effects of climate change. North Somerset Council has declared a climate emergency and committed to become carbon neutral by 2030. Yanel Solar Farm will play an important part in meeting these carbon reduction targets.
Site Selection and Design Principles
The project design team comprises of various different expertise, for example, solar development team; geotechnical and civil engineers; landscape architects; ecologists and archaeologists. These specialists work together to design a solar farm which balances the requirement to optimise the energy output whilst minimising environmental and community impacts.
One of the biggest challenges for building new energy projects is finding a grid connection point that has capacity to accept the electricity being generated. Yanel Solar Farm is unique because the connection point for the grid has been secured within the boundary of the site, which reduces the footprint of the project and minimises disturbance.
- The proposals would provide enough electricity to power approximately 15,000 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 are aiming to submit the application in the summer of 2021 and the application documents will be available to view and download through the North Somerset Council planning portal.
Your opinions are important and we welcome any feedback you may have about the proposed Yanel Farm Solar project. Your comments will be taken into account wherever possible in the ongoing development process leading up to the formal planning submission.
Please get in touch using the contact details on the right hand side of this page, or by clicking “contact us” below.