CONTROVERSIAL plans for a huge solar farm in the Wentlooge Levels that were scrapped by the Welsh Government over fears they’d have an “unacceptable impact” on the area, could be resubmitted.

It’s understood a letter has been sent by Lighthouse Development Consulting, a Devon-based firm, to both Marshfield and Wentlooge community councils, with details of amended plans in a bid to revive the project.

Posting on its social media page, Marshfield Community Council confirmed that the application was covering “a similar area of approximately 400 acres south of the village, from the Broadway to Hawse Lane” and that an additional 30 acres that was included in the original plans has been removed.

Free Press Series: The Gwent Levels stretch from Magor in Monmouthshire, to St Mellons in Cardiff.The Gwent Levels stretch from Magor in Monmouthshire, to St Mellons in Cardiff.

News of a potential revised proposal for the solar hub comes just months after Wales’s rural affairs minister Lesley Griffiths decided to scrap the initial plans over worries it would damage the environment and historical significance of the Levels – despite its initial approval by planning inspector Hywel Wyn Jones.

It’s expected that the letter will be made public shortly which will reveal more details about what is being proposed.

The first application received a huge number of objections from environmental charities, campaign groups and community councils, as well as residents.

A total of 250,000 solar panels were included in the first project, along with 160 battery storage units and a grid connection hub which would have been in place for a temporary period of 40 years.

Free Press Series: Solar panels. Solar panels.

The site would have covered 155-hectares, between the villages of St Brides and Peterstone, and had the potential to produce enough energy to power 40,000 homes.

Chairman of Wentlooge Community Council Brian Miles said he couldn’t understand why the idea was being explored again.

“It will be met with strong opposition once again,” Mr Miles said. “I’m surprised that this is potentially going in as a new application given it was refused. I just don’t understand why this location keeps getting picked on for these projects.

“We did extensive research at the time of the last application and found that solar power is not that efficient unless panels are placed on buildings.

“It would be devastating to lose all of that environment down here – we’re sandwiched in between two cities – and you need to keep that eco system in place.

Free Press Series: The solar panels were set to be installed to the south of Marshfield. (Google Maps)The solar panels were set to be installed to the south of Marshfield. (Google Maps)

“Millions of pounds has been spent on the living levels project, which has been an unbelievably successful programme – we’ve brought so much wildlife back to the area because of it.

“Lockdown also brought added value and need for the green space we have here.”

A spokesperson for neighbouring Marshfield Community Council said: “We don’t really know what the application is going to be.

“As a council we want to be clear we’re not against renewable energy, but it needs to be in the right place.

“We’ve got a lot of the community here using the open space in the area that the application has been highlighted for.

“We’ve got very little of the levels left – that particular area is the last large area of the Wentlooge Levels.

“It’s a precious landscape and we want to keep as much of it as we can.”

The Argus has tried to make contact with Lighthouse Development Consulting, however little information about the company has been made available online. 

The Gwent Wildlife Trust's Conservation Officer Mike Webb said: “We remain convinced that this huge solar power station on the Wentlooge Levels would be a very damaging development, which would have significant and irreversible adverse impacts on nature - particularly on the area’s fragile and complex wetland ecosystem of the Sites of Special Scientific Interest.

"This area is a precious and historically important Levels landscape which is home to rare wildlife, including otters, water voles and lapwing."