Solar farms in Derbyshire Dales set to stay open until the 2050s

An example of the kind of solar farm found in the Derbyshire Dales.
An example of the kind of solar farm found in the Derbyshire Dales.

Two solar farms in the Derbyshire Dales, which provide electricity for more than 2,000 homes each year, could now stay open until the 2050s.

Fresh planning applications have been submitted for the farms, which are run by Spanish renewable-energy adviser, Quintas Energy.

And both were set for approval by Derbryshire Dales District Council’s planning committee this week after being given the thumbs-up by officers.

The solar farms cover 26 acres on Ridge Lane, just south of Atlow, and 14 acres on Ladyhole Lane, west of Bradley.

Each of the applications seeks permission to extend the amount of time they remain in place from 25 years to 40 years.

The Bradley farm, approved by the council in 2015, could now stay active until 2056. It provides 4.5 Gwh of power every year, which is enough to serve 818 homes.

The Atlow farm, which was originally refused planning permission in 2015 but was later allowed at appeal, could now stay operational until 2057.

It provides 4.7 Gwh of energy per year, which is enough electricity to power 1,440 homes.

A spokesman for Quintas Energy said: “The solar panels installed on this site are high quality and can be expected to have a useful life at the higher end of the range. They are guaranteed for 25 years but are likely to produce electricity for longer than  that.”

The council had tried to block the Atlow farm because of its “substantial harm” on the appearance of the local countryside.

At appeal, a government planning inspector agreed, but attributed only “moderate weight” to this argument when weighing up the proposal as a whole.

Council officers said the “landscape character” of both areas had “undoubtedly changed” as a result of each development.

However, in recommending that the farms remain until the 2050s, they told this week’s meeting: “The degree of harm that would result from the proposed extensions is limited.

“The benefits of the generation of renewable energy for an additional 15 years would outweigh the identified harm on the local landscape character.”