Swindon AdvertiserShaw Forest lined up as solar farm site (From Swindon Advertiser)

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Shaw Forest lined up as solar farm site

Swindon Advertiser: Nick Martin at Shaw Forest Park Nick Martin at Shaw Forest Park

PLANS for as many as 32,000 solar panels in Shaw Forest will be discussed at a consulation event next month.

The development, which is being proposed for the former site of Barnfield tip, would see between 16,000 and 32,000 solar panels being installed.

A meeting will take place on February 2 at Peatmoor Community Primary School to discuss the proposal, which would cover between 22 and 25 acres.

Coun Nick Martin (Con, Shaw) said: “It is an opportunity to create green energy in an area we are not using at the moment.

“It is a large plateau and I don’t think they will be putting solar panels on more than half of it. I am keen that we actually plant the hillside leading up to the plateau. “Ideally I would like to keep part of the plateau, close to the Thames Water site, free because it would be a good place to have one or two birdwatching huts.

“We have restored Shaw Forest in a fantastic way, which has a large green space in the middle and thousands of trees around the outside, and a lot of wildlife. “In this case we are seeing an opportunity where we can generate cheap electricity. There is an opportunity to connect to the main grid.

“Swindon Commercial Services came forward with the idea of putting solar panels on.”

The consultation will take place from 10am-2pm and will give people the chance to hear more about the plans.

If it goes ahead, the site could create enough electricity to power 1,500 homes.

Coun Martin said: “I am pretty positive about everything we are doing. In West Swindon we have got more public open space today than we had 20 years ago. “Shaw Forest has generated more than 100 acres of public open space. Now it is somewhere people can walk their and fly a kite.

“I have been involved in Shaw Forest since the 1980s. Seeing it steadily move forward has been astonishing and very satisfying.”

The solar panel project was outlined at the West Swindon Forum meeting on November 12 by the head of energy and sustainability at SCS, James Owen.

Comments (15)

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8:04am Tue 8 Jan 13

PaulD says...

sounds like a great idea
sounds like a great idea PaulD
  • Score: 0

8:49am Tue 8 Jan 13

Hmmmf says...

This is great, Swindonians will get to pay for this twice; once for the hardware, and again on increased energy bills so yet another cash-crop can be reaped by subsidy farmers.
This is great, Swindonians will get to pay for this twice; once for the hardware, and again on increased energy bills so yet another cash-crop can be reaped by subsidy farmers. Hmmmf
  • Score: 0

9:16am Tue 8 Jan 13

Davidsyrett says...

will we benefit with reduced council tax bills?
will we benefit with reduced council tax bills? Davidsyrett
  • Score: 0

9:39am Tue 8 Jan 13

PaulD says...

"Swindon Commercial Services came forward with the idea" is the bit that concerns me though. It has taken SCS about 3 months to lay 40 yards of pavement on Mead Way near the petrol station and they still haven't finished.

If SCS plan on doing the installation then the sun may have gone supernova before they finish it.
"Swindon Commercial Services came forward with the idea" is the bit that concerns me though. It has taken SCS about 3 months to lay 40 yards of pavement on Mead Way near the petrol station and they still haven't finished. If SCS plan on doing the installation then the sun may have gone supernova before they finish it. PaulD
  • Score: 0

9:50am Tue 8 Jan 13

SockPuppet says...

It would be nice to have clarity on where the revenue from this goes.
It would be nice to have clarity on where the revenue from this goes. SockPuppet
  • Score: 0

10:35am Tue 8 Jan 13

LordAshOfTheBrake says...

Agreed, it seems like a good idea in principle, but some clarification on who's paying for it and where the benefits go would be good.
Agreed, it seems like a good idea in principle, but some clarification on who's paying for it and where the benefits go would be good. LordAshOfTheBrake
  • Score: 0

11:12am Tue 8 Jan 13

PaulD says...

I guess the answers will be at the meeting...

A meeting will take place on February 2 at Peatmoor Community Primary School to discuss the proposal, which would cover between 22 and 25 acres.
I guess the answers will be at the meeting... A meeting will take place on February 2 at Peatmoor Community Primary School to discuss the proposal, which would cover between 22 and 25 acres. PaulD
  • Score: 0

11:58am Tue 8 Jan 13

MrAngry says...

Solar panels are a real eye-sore. I don't understand why we build them on fields and open space when they could be put on roofs where they would be less obstrusive.

Some of the big warehouses/retail stores would be ideal.
Solar panels are a real eye-sore. I don't understand why we build them on fields and open space when they could be put on roofs where they would be less obstrusive. Some of the big warehouses/retail stores would be ideal. MrAngry
  • Score: 0

12:03pm Tue 8 Jan 13

The Artist formally known as Grumpy Old Man says...

Fields are cheap, and do not need strengthening.
Fields are cheap, and do not need strengthening. The Artist formally known as Grumpy Old Man
  • Score: 0

1:11pm Tue 8 Jan 13

MrAngry says...

The Artist formally known as Grumpy Old Man wrote:
Fields are cheap, and do not need strengthening.
It has more to do with silly planning regulations.

Fields without planning approval are cheap, but land with planning approval is expensive. The value of land is far more than the cost of any strengthening.

It is unlikely that planning approval would be given for a building on this site, but a solar farm will be approved based on the green credentials. The solar farm will have taken the land out of use and is a waste of a valuable resource (land). Surely it is better to get dual use from the same plot of land.

The extra-over cost of providing a slightly stronger roof capable of supporting the panels would be no more that the cost of the supporting structure used to angle the solar panels at ground level.

Solar panels are put on domestic houses without strengthening and these have timber trusses.

Some existing buildings would require strengthening, but many wouldn't. I believe that SBC are already solar panels to the civic offices for example.

Some buildings with flat roofs might even benefit from having a pitched roof with solar panels added. The biggest loads on a roof are snow and wind. A pitched roof would attract more wind loading, but little or no snow loading. The weight of the supporting structure may be less than the snow load. The increased wind loads would increase horizontal loads but a diagonally braced pitched roof is very strong in this respect.

I am not saying that solar panels could be fitted to all existing buildings, but surely it makes sense to maximise the use of this new site. Get two uses out of it.

This short term 'green' planning exemption will have longer term environmental costs.

The scheme is probably only viable due to subsidies which make it attractive to SBC, but the taxpayer will be subsiding it.
[quote][p][bold]The Artist formally known as Grumpy Old Man[/bold] wrote: Fields are cheap, and do not need strengthening.[/p][/quote]It has more to do with silly planning regulations. Fields without planning approval are cheap, but land with planning approval is expensive. The value of land is far more than the cost of any strengthening. It is unlikely that planning approval would be given for a building on this site, but a solar farm will be approved based on the green credentials. The solar farm will have taken the land out of use and is a waste of a valuable resource (land). Surely it is better to get dual use from the same plot of land. The extra-over cost of providing a slightly stronger roof capable of supporting the panels would be no more that the cost of the supporting structure used to angle the solar panels at ground level. Solar panels are put on domestic houses without strengthening and these have timber trusses. Some existing buildings would require strengthening, but many wouldn't. I believe that SBC are already solar panels to the civic offices for example. Some buildings with flat roofs might even benefit from having a pitched roof with solar panels added. The biggest loads on a roof are snow and wind. A pitched roof would attract more wind loading, but little or no snow loading. The weight of the supporting structure may be less than the snow load. The increased wind loads would increase horizontal loads but a diagonally braced pitched roof is very strong in this respect. I am not saying that solar panels could be fitted to all existing buildings, but surely it makes sense to maximise the use of this new site. Get two uses out of it. This short term 'green' planning exemption will have longer term environmental costs. The scheme is probably only viable due to subsidies which make it attractive to SBC, but the taxpayer will be subsiding it. MrAngry
  • Score: 0

1:41pm Tue 8 Jan 13

house on the hill says...

I think there are more questions than answers here, maybe the consultation will answer a few. Isnt Shaw Forest supposed to be a dogging site?????
I think there are more questions than answers here, maybe the consultation will answer a few. Isnt Shaw Forest supposed to be a dogging site????? house on the hill
  • Score: 0

2:05pm Tue 8 Jan 13

StillPav says...

It seems strange that we continue to build on greenbelt land around Swindon, but fail to infill these large pockets in the centre of the town?
It seems strange that we continue to build on greenbelt land around Swindon, but fail to infill these large pockets in the centre of the town? StillPav
  • Score: 0

2:16pm Tue 8 Jan 13

Davey Gravey says...

house on the hill wrote:
I think there are more questions than answers here, maybe the consultation will answer a few. Isnt Shaw Forest supposed to be a dogging site?????
You pervert
[quote][p][bold]house on the hill[/bold] wrote: I think there are more questions than answers here, maybe the consultation will answer a few. Isnt Shaw Forest supposed to be a dogging site?????[/p][/quote]You pervert Davey Gravey
  • Score: 0

2:29pm Tue 8 Jan 13

MrAngry says...

What's wrong with dogging? It's a great way to meet new people.
What's wrong with dogging? It's a great way to meet new people. MrAngry
  • Score: 0

11:24pm Tue 8 Jan 13

Pompey-Bound says...

I'm sure the doggers and queers will be de-lighted!
I'm sure the doggers and queers will be de-lighted! Pompey-Bound
  • Score: 0

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