Council approves £6.4m solar farm plan

Sheep grazing on a 'solar farm' in Devon, England. INNT 08-519CON (Archive pic)
Sheep grazing on a 'solar farm' in Devon, England. INNT 08-519CON (Archive pic)

The council’s Planning Committee has granted permission for the installation and operation of a second large solar farm in Mallusk.

At their meeting on Monday night (July 18), members voted to approve an application by renewable energy provider Lightsource SPV 231 Ltd for development of a 14.6 hectare site at Gibson Farm, Sealstown Road.

The approval decision comes just eight months after the committee granted planning permission to Lightsource SPV 56 Ltd for a similar multi-million pound solar farm development in the same area.

The Lightsource SPV 231 solar farm - rows of 2.5 metre high photovoltaic panels surrounded by security fencing - will be capable of producing 6.4MW of electricity.

Despite one objection, planners said there would be “no perceived adverse impacts on the amenity of nearby residents, or on the visual amenity or character of the landscape.”

Planning approval was granted, subject to a number of conditions concerning issues such as protection of local wildlife, screening of the facility and restoration of the land following the cessation of electricity generation at the site - expected to be within 25 - 30 years.

Aiden Collins, senior planner with Lightsource, said the latest project represents a £6.4million investment in the local economy that will support 30 - 50 jobs during the construction phase and create three longer-term roles.

“We are delighted to have it approved. This is something that has been in planning since December of last year and we are delighted that it went through last night,” Mr Collins added.