Solar panel scheme will help to power plane plant

Solar power: The BAE site at Samlesbury will host the panels

Solar power: The BAE site at Samlesbury will host the panels

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Plans for thousands of solar panels at an aircraft manufacturing base have been approved.

BAE System’s scheme for its Samlesbury site was given the unanimous nod by South Ribble Council’s planning committee.

The 10,000 panels will supply nearly a quarter of BAE’s peak electrical load and it will save 29,000 tons of carbon dioxide over the next 30 years.

Coupe Green and Gregson Lane Coun Jim Marsh told the committee the non-residential area was the perfect setting for the eco-scheme.

He said: “It isn’t affecting a residential area, there is no risk of vandalism - I can’t think of anywhere better to put the solar panels.”

Samlesbury Coun Barrie Yates – who is not on the committee – voiced his support for building the scheme, on green belt land.

He said: “We accept in principle that it should go ahead on green belt land. And that there should be adequate screening around the area.

“Residents on Smithy Lane would be able to see it. No objections from residents on the A677 everyone seems to be OK about it. But we are concerned about glint and glare off the panels.”

But the applicant stated glint and glare will not be a problem and that leafy woodland should provide a screen.

They added the number of birds affected on the site is very low, no more than three skylark territories and two lapwing territories were recorded in any year during four years of survey work.

Committee chairman Jon Hesketh said: “The ground nesting birds will be able to hide under the panels from predators.”