Chelson Meadow Community Solar
We are working with Plymouth City Council to develop a community-owned solar farm on the old landfill site at Chelson Meadow. You can help us make this vision come true.
This project will bring part of the old landfill site at Chelson Meadow, into action as a major part of the City's response to the Climate Emergency. It will:
- Make a substantial contribution to Plymouth's ambition to get to carbon neutral emissions.
- Put any surplus funds generated towards other local community projects that are responding to climate change and tackling fuel poverty.
- Provide a massive educational opportunity for visitors.
- Put local people in control over a key part of the City's transition to carbon neutral emissions.
Our feasibility studies show that this community solar farm could generate the following local benefits:
Where is Chelson Meadow?
Chelson Meadow is an old landfill site located to the east of Plymouth, on land adjacent to the River Plym. The interactive map below shows the exact location.
How big is the solar farm going to be?
The proposal is for an approximately 13 megawatt solar farm (33,000 panels) covering approximately 17.8 hectares. This will produce 14,284 MWh of renewable energy each year, which would power around 3,800 homes.
Where will the solar farm be visible from?
We have completed a Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment (submitted in planning application and available to view here). As the solar farm has been designed to only occupy the low lying northern sector of Chelson Meadow, it will only be visible from a few restricted locations. Planting vegetation in the area will also help to screen it.
For these viewpoints, photomontages have been created, with the proposed development superimposed onto the existing photographic view. The interactive map below shows these. Click on the camera icon to view the photographs and then click on the image to enlarge.
Update: Planning application submitted
- Our planning application was submitted in February 2022. You can find full details here: 22/00219/FUL | Installation and operation of a Solar Farm (approx. 13 MW) together with all associated works, equipment and necessary infrastructure | Chelson Meadow Plymouth PL9 7JS
- We are pleased to be able to include a design that considers the constraints of putting a solar farm on an old landfill site, as well as providing a meaningful overall benefit for nature.
- The full details of our approach can be found in our planning application, however if you would like to join us for an online information event, please see below.
We have made a commitment to 25% biodiversity net gain, improving the existing habitats across an area in excess of 37 hectares, this includes a further 20 hectares beyond the footprint of the solar farm itself. Our commitment is explained in a 30-year Outline Biodiversity Management Plan that will be carried out should planning be approved. This includes long term management actions to improve the condition of the existing grassland, ‘open mosaic’ and woodland habitats across this site plus other improvements such as bird and bat boxes, homes for reptiles (reptile Hibernacula) and the introduction of beehives.
The map below shows the wildlife habitats that we are aiming for, post installation of the solar farm:
We need your help!
Act now to support a 49% increase in Plymouth's solar power
We recently submitted our planning application for Chelson Meadow community solar farm. The Planning Committee must hear that people support the need for this, otherwise all of our hard work might be lost...
The benefits of this are far reaching and it’s the best opportunity we have to increase Plymouth’s renewable energy generation significantly.
We know that to avoid the worst effects of climate change we need cut our carbon emissions, and we need to do that quickly. The generation of renewable energy is an important part of what we can do to achieve this, recognised globally by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and as part of the UK Government’s Net Zero Strategy. This project allows Plymouth to increase energy resilience and play its part in cutting carbon. It also provides a positive example to others how to do this at large scale whilst still being community owned and providing community benefit.
Please can you help us by officially submitting positive, supporting comments to the local planning committee in response to the application before 22nd March?
Registering your support is simple: just click on this link, and it take you straight through to the ‘Make a comment’ section on the planning portal. Login or register to make your comment (you don’t need to live in Plymouth to do this).
It’s important that your letter of support shows how the proposed Solar Farm supports the delivery of the Plymouth and South West Devon Joint Local Plan.
To make it easier for you, here are some suggestions for what you could say:
I support the installation and operation of a Solar Farm (approx. 13 MW) at Chelson Meadow, Plymouth because:
- There is an urgent need to address climate change by reducing reliance on fossil fuels in favour of renewable energy, as indicated by the UK and PCC declaration of a climate emergency and the commitment to make Plymouth carbon neutral by 2030.
- The development supports the UK Net Zero Strategy and its commitment to decarbonise the electricity network by 2035.
- The solar farm will support the Joint Local Plan policy aspirations to increase Low Carbon and renewable energy developments as set out in Policy DEV32 and DEV33.
- The submitted Ecological Impact Assessment and Biodiversity Management Plan provide realistic and considered plans to deliver a 25% net gain in Biodiversity and therefore significantly exceed the policy requirements for biodiversity as set out in the Joint Local Plan’s Policy DEV26.
- The results of the Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment, and Heritage Assessment reports demonstrate that the plans will not cause significant harm and are being brought forward in a sensitive manner. The plans are therefore compliant with the Joint Local Plan’s Policy DEV21 and DEV23.
- The proposal supports the long term delivery of the proposed Saltram Countryside Park by facilitating two new strategic recreational access improvements and is therefore compliant with PLY54 & DEV27.
We really appreciate your support. It would be wonderful if you could also pass this request on to friends, family, neighbours, colleagues – anyone who you think might be supportive of increasing renewable energy generation in Plymouth.
We would love you to help make our vision come true and support our project, so please comment on the planning application or contact us directly if you would like to know more.