CONTROVERSIAL plans for a solar farm on the Wentlooge Levels that were scrapped by the Welsh Government have been resubmitted, with a reduced number of solar panels proposed.

Last month, it was revealed that plans for a renewable energy scheme had resurfaced once again – despite the initial project being thrown out by Welsh Government ministers over its “unacceptable impact” on the historic significance of the area.

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.

The Gwent Levels stretch from Magor in Monmouthshire, to St Mellons in Cardiff.

Wentlooge and Marshfield community councils, which represent rural areas in the west of Newport, received letters from Devon-based firm Lighthouse Development Consulting at the beinning of February, confirming that they had taken over the project.

According to the company, the Welsh Government’s initial concerns over the Wentlooge Farmers’ Renewable Energy Hub – which could generate electricity for 37,500 homes – have now been addressed.

This includes removing a large part of the solar farm and battery storage development to better preserve the historic landscape and the height of the solar panels has also been reduced following concerns over the visual impact locally.

Solar panels

Lighthouse Development Consulting’s director, Peter Grubb, said: “We are really pleased that we have been able to take on board feedback from the original planning application decision and make further improvements.

“By removing 30 acres of panels, particularly from the exposed north of site, we have avoided significant impact on the historic landscape.

“We have also enlarged the wildlife corridors through the development which means that the scheme will have a greater positive contribution on biodiversity.”

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However, the chairman of Wentlooge Community Council Brian Miles has confirmed that the council will oppose the plans once more.

He 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.

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

“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.”

The Gwent Wildlife Trust has also spoken out about the revised development plans.

Its 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.”

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