Plans could pave way for largest solar farm in UK to be built in Powys


Jonny Drury

The biggest solar energy farm in the UK could be built between Newtown and Rhayader, under new Local Development Plan proposals.

Last week, further plans were released in the long running saga over wind and solar energy provision within Powys.

New proposals for the LDP put emphasis on solar energy farms and include provision for 20 across Powys.

This includes a proposed large scale site at Waun Ddubarthog, near Bwlch y Sarnau, which could potentially be the largest in the UK and cover 280 acres.

Within the plans, large scale wind turbine allocations have now been excluded, which will be met with cheer from many residents in the county.

The energy target has also been reduced from 600MWatts to just over 60MWatts.

However the Campaign for the Protection of Rural Wales is concerned that despite local search areas being removed, there are still policies which encourage wind turbine developments.

The LDP report states: “Any new policy must take into account small schemes for which the plan would continue to remain generally supportive.

“Although no onshore wind LSAs were identified, it has been recognised that wide scale proposals at the local authority  may still come forward.

“Technological advances in turbine technology and varying the assumptions from those used could identify potential sites provided they were in appropriate locations and identified constraints were mitigated at the site-specific level.”

Peter Seaman, chair of the Brecon and Radnor branch of CPRW, which has yet to fully reveal its reaction, has said plans need to be looked at very carefully.

He said: “It will be a while before we come to any informed response but we strongly encourage communities and concerned individuals to study the proposals – including the ‘small print for wind’ very carefully indeed and to submit any views to the Inspector carrying out the Examination of the LDP.”

CPRW are proposing to post details on how to respond on their website.

Back in October, large scale solar and wind plans within the LDP were discovered, causing a public outcry and a protest outside County Hall.

The organisation says it  thanks people for thwarting what could have been ‘devastating’ for the landscapes of Powys.

The organisation said: “CPRW will be posting details on how to respond on our website at and these will include the very tight deadlines for responses.

“In the meantime, we wish to remind the public that if it was not for the vigilance of individuals, actions groups and CPRW working together, our beautiful and valued landscapes could have been devastated by the council’s proposals of October last year.”

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