Leeds solar energy farm plan given go ahead

image captionThe developer said the panels would cover 33 acres (13 hectares) of land

Plans for a £9m solar energy farm on the outskirts of Leeds have been approved.

The 33 acre (13 hectare) site will contain around 32,000 solar panels located in a farm field at Tingley.

Developer Oakapple Renewable Energy claimed the scheme would provide electricity for more than 2,100 homes.

The Ramblers Association and others had objected to the council about the impact of the scheme on the surrounding countryside.

The panels will be mounted 3ft (1m) off the ground to allow sheep to graze underneath them.

'Severely adverse'

The site is on green belt land and Leeds City Council said it only gave exceptional permission to build it owing to the "wider environmental benefits" from the reduction of CO2 emissions.

In its submission to the council, the Leeds branch of the Ramblers Association claimed the solar farm would have a "severely adverse visual impact" on walkers using a nearby public footpath.

John Brooks, who is managing the project, said the developers had amended the scheme to try and minimise the impact on the landscape.

"There's been a lot of change made with regard to landscaping and biodiversity," he said.

"There's a local nature reserve, for example, we've linked that in to the landscape."

The solar farm is expected to be operational by next year.

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