Wiltshire Publications

Solar park plans for Westbury landfill site

PLANS have been revealed for a new solar park on a closed landfill site, just outside of Westbury.

Westbury Landfill Site, which is situated next to the Lafarge works, took its last volumes of waste in 2004 and it is now fully restored to grassland.

The proposed solar park on the northern part of the site would be constructed in two phases, covering 10 hectares in total.   When fully operational it would be expected to generate 3.5MW hr (megawatt), enough energy to power 1,120 homes.

Waste management and renewable energy company Viridor has submitted a planning application for the solar park to Wiltshire Council. It explains that, as with all landfill sites, this site was filled with waste on a phased basis.   Settlement and gas extraction on the older northern phases has now effectively ceased.

The site is currently producing landfill gas in the southern cells in quantities that enable the  in situ  turbines  to  generate  electricity,  however  this  is  a  declining  resource expected to cease (in economic quantities) in the next five to six years.

Marcus Du Pree Thomas, Viridor’s development manager said, “We believe this site is highly suitable for solar panel installation, as it has been used for energy generation for many years and the electricity generation infrastructure is already in place.

“The location, adjacent to the existing cement plant and clay pit, means the character of the area will not change and the current grassland and grazing can remain and continue to support the local biodiversity”.

Viridor says that the development is a wholly sustainable proposal that will help meet Wiltshire’s renewable energy targets and comply with local and national planning policy.

At 3.5MW, this proposed solar installation would help to achieve Wiltshire’s target of 28.6MW for ground mounted Solar PV; providing 12.23% of this target for 2020 by increasing the amount of Solar PV renewable energy capacity in Wiltshire.

Viridor also says that, to ensure the project is developed in as environmentally sensitive manner as possible, an ecological survey was commissioned, along with an independent landscape and visual impact assessment.

Full details of the application can be found on Wiltshire Council’s website using the reference 13/01962/WCM.