CONCERNS have been raised over plans for an “industrial scale” solar farm in Monmouth, by residents who fear the effect on a Special Landscape Area.

A planning application has been lodged for a 32,000-panel installation at Buckwell Farm, Pen-y-Cae Mawr, Usk, near Wentwood Forest – Wales’ largest ancient forest.

The multi-million pound plan was submitted to Monmouthshire Council by Buckle Chamberlain Partnership, on behalf of the landowner, Mr B Stephens. The land is used for grazing animals, but the application says the solar farm would make a ‘noteworthy contribution’ towards renewable energy targets. Spread across 45 acres it would generate electricity to power 2,120 homes, saving 3,286 tonnes of Co2 emissions a year. But resident Tim Miles says there would be detrimental effects.

He said: “Personally we will suffer from a large visual impact, and there will be considerable traffic involved, as it will effectively create a construction site.”

Resident Alison Broughton also raised objections on the application’s online comments section.

She said: “This is a huge construction that will be visible from miles around including areas of Wentwood Forest. In a rural area of outstanding natural beauty where no new building of homes is permitted it seems wholly inappropriate such a major industrial size complex, which will not even create any jobs locally should be given permission to go ahead.”

Glynn Buckle, a director with Buckle Chamberlain Partnership, said: “It is not prime agricultural land, and we have taken specialist advice from private ecologists and those from the local authority. The landscape architect has said this is one of the best sites he has seen because it is well screened.”

A public meeting takes place at Earlswood Community Hall at 7pm, on December 16 and a website has been set up opposing the plans –