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Econergy to submit plans for 67-hectare Exton Energy solar farm in Rutland





An energy company has confirmed it is to submit amended plans for a large solar farm near a popular tourism hotspot.

Econergy released proposals two years ago for its 81-hectare Exton Energy solar farm on land bordered by Exton Lane and Barnsdale Avenue.

Nick Hamilton, owner of Barnsdale Gardeners, was among nearby residents to raise concerns about the proposals, saying the farm’s location could put off visitors and put its future at risk.

The revised site location plan for Exton Energy solar farm
The revised site location plan for Exton Energy solar farm

After consultations were held, Econergy said a formal planning application was delayed because of ‘several factors’ including grid connection.

But after refining its proposals, a planning application for a smaller 67-hectare site, within 2km of Exton, is due to be submitted to Rutland County Council this summer.

If approved, Israel-based Econergy says construction could begin next year or in 2026.

Barnsdale Gardens owner Nick Hamilton raised concerns over the initial proposals
Barnsdale Gardens owner Nick Hamilton raised concerns over the initial proposals

Amendments include a ‘no-development buffer’ on the eastern side between the site and Barnsdale Avenue properties, which include Barnsdale Gardens.

Solar panels would be set back a further 5m within the perimeter fence for ‘various forms of planting’ to address concerns over the solar farm’s visual impact.

“We are committed to hearing the views of the community to help shape our proposals for the project, and we have made several changes to the original indicative design in response to the feedback we received and additional environmental assessments,” said Humphrey Jamieson, head of development UK at Econergy.

A consultation meeting for Exton Energy plans was held at Exton Village Hall in 2022
A consultation meeting for Exton Energy plans was held at Exton Village Hall in 2022

The company says for each megawatt produced per year, it is offering a payment of £500 for improvements within the local community, up to a total of £1 million over the farm’s 40-year lifespan.

It also says business rates payments would be worth in the region of £125,000 a year to the council, or £5 million over the 40 years.

Other updates include -

• The removal of battery storage units as batteries are no longer included in the proposals.

• A 14-hectare reduction in the site area due to the removal of panels on the western side to create an ecosystem ‘buffer’.

• A new landscape and biodiversity strategy, including bat boxes, bird houses and additional wildflower plantings to support bees and other pollinators.

According to the Exton Energy website, if built the solar farm would have a capacity of up to 49.9 megawatts and produce enough energy to power 14,400 homes a year.

Econergy will be holding a community webinar at 12.30pm on Tuesday (July 2) to give residents the chance to hear more about the updated proposals and ask questions.

Details on how to register to attend can be found at https://www.extonenergy.com/

Members of the community can also contact the project team by calling 0808 175 3009, by email at info@extonenergy.com, or writing to Freepost: Econergy Consultations.



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