JBM Solar has launched public consultation for their 99.9MW Craig Y Perthi Solar and battery storage project in Newport. If consented, it would generate enough cheap green electricity for over 44,800 homes.

With rising electricity and gas prices creating a cost-of-living crisis, and solar generation representing one of the cheapest forms of electricity (9x cheaper than gas and 2.5x cheaper than nuclear), the Craig Y Perthi Solar Farm, located to the south of the M4 and the east of Newport around the village of Bishton, Newport, would provide enough cheap renewable energy for over 44,800 homes, if approved.

JBM Solar are seeking local opinions on the scheme, before launching a formal consultation next year. The plans are for a 99.9MW solar and battery storage farm that would help tackle the climate crisis by saving over 3,350,000 tonnes of carbon compared to fossil fuel generation, the equivalent of planting over 55 million trees or taking 731,000 cars off the road for a year.

The designs for the Craig Y Perthi solar farm, developed by wildlife conservationist and trained ecologist Robin Johnson, ‘aim to considerably improve local biodiversity and opportunities for wildlife.’

Coming from a conservation background and training as an ecologist, Robin is also the project manager for the scheme, representing JBM Solar.

Mr Johnson said: "The farm will support a diverse range of habitats and species once up and running. There will be over 38 acres of new dedicated wildflower meadows with butterfly and bee habitats, both of which are under threat in the UK due to loss of habitat and pressures from pesticide use.

"We propose to plant over 2km of new native hedgerows and trees which will further improve local interconnectivity of habitats. Solar farms, when done correctly, represent a fantastic opportunity to create vast new habitats and a result of this wildlife centric design means a considerable 50% gain to local biodiversity (above the 10% standard).

"Further to this, we will install bird boxes, beehives, insect hotels, reptile hibernacula and log piles around the site. Wildlife conservation is my passion and I’m delighted with what we’ve been able to achieve with this project."

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The 5m spacing between the rows of panels allows high quality grass to grow resulting in continued sheep and chicken grazing on an already part-pastoral farm, and thus, not impacting food production.

Plans show that all footpaths on-site will be protected and widened to 10 metres in width (from 1-1.8m), as well as equipping them with educational boards detailing local wildlife and scenery.

The project will also provide a £300,000 fund to support local projects and initiatives, including the installation of rooftop solar for local residents and schools in the area.

The site will also retain its greenfield status before, during and after development, and is set to contribute around £15m in local business rates, providing direct funding to local council services and projects in the area.

You can view more and comment on the scheme at www.CraigYPerthiSolarFarm.co.uk or by getting in touch with Robin or the team at Info@CraigYPerthiSolar.Farm at any time. The initial informal consultation is due to run until the end of January. 

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