Plans submitted for solar energy project at Wandon End near Luton Airport

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It’s expected to generate renewable energy to supply approximately 14,500 homes

Plans to develop a solar and energy storage project at Wandon End near Luton have been submitted to Luton Borough Council and North Herts District Council.

The Wandon End Solar project is expected to generate sufficient renewable energy to supply approximately 14,500 homes and displace around 11,500 tonnes of carbon dioxide CO2 emissions each year.

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This equates to around 455,000 tonnes of CO2 saved over the project's 40-year lifetime.

Plan have been submitted to develop a solar and energy storage project on land Wandon End at LutonPlan have been submitted to develop a solar and energy storage project on land Wandon End at Luton
Plan have been submitted to develop a solar and energy storage project on land Wandon End at Luton

The 106-hectare site is approximately 1km north of the eastern end of the runway at Luton Airport. Around 60 hectares will be utilised for solar infrastructure, around 42 hectares will be designated for areas to enhance local biodiversity or allocated for recreational use and the remaining four hectares relates to the electricity cable connection route.

Removing the land from intensive farming, combined with a range of ecological enhancements such as new hedgerows, new tress, wildflower meadows and bird and bat boxes, will result in a biodiversity net gain that is over 15x the legal requirement.

The project will generate renewable energy through photovoltaic panels which will be connected into the national grid via a nearby substation in Luton, while the energy storage facility will be able to supply electricity at times of peak energy demand and ensure the solar power generated provides a stable and reliable addition to the UK energy supply.

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The application has been submitted by Evolution Power, a UK based independent solar developer, established to deliver sustainable renewable energy projects that will help the UK meet its 2050 net zero emissions target.

Conor McNally, Director of Evolution Power, said: “To combat the effects of climate change and tackle the Climate Emergency, the UK has to develop much more renewable capacity. The country is also facing an energy security crisis with enormous rises in energy costs. Wandon End Solar will generate subsidy-free electricity, without public financial support and, as solar is the cheapest form of electricity generation worldwide, it will also help to reduce national power prices and provide domestic renewable generation, reducing our reliance on energy imports and fossil fuels.

“We held a public consultation during the summer, including two local community events. As a result of this consultation significant revisions were made to the design, in particular to remove fields close to Mill Way to reduce the visual impact. In addition to a £15,000 per annum inflation linked community benefit fund for the 40 years of the project we will also offer to install rooftop solar to properties that are identified as being directly impacted by the development at zero cost.”

As the application site comprises land across two local planning authority areas the full planning application for the development has been submitted to North Herts District Council and Luton Borough Council. Once validated the application will be placed in the planning section on the Council’s website and should be determined by the Council’s Planning Committee in early 2023.

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Conor McNally added: “This development will provide the renewable energy that is desperately needed to meet national and local climate commitments, as well as safeguarding the land from other development for 40 years and maintaining the rural nature of the area.”

Full details about the project are available here