PLANS to build a solar farm on agricultural land near Salisbury have been submitted.

Low Carbon Solar Park 24, the applicant, has put forward a proposal to build a 40.4-hectare solar farm on land south of Salisbury Road near Homington.

It is estimated that the panels at Beech Tree Solar Farm would generate approximately 30 megawatts of renewable electricity which is enough electricity to power 9,6421 homes annually.

The application comes after a consultation that saw 107 people give feedback on the plans, the majority of which were local residents aged between 51-70 years.

When asked for their views on the early-stage proposals, 38 people were supportive, 16 opposed, 17 said they needed further information, 34 did not answer and two gave a written submission.

While many people were in favour of renewable energy generation, others were concerned about the scale of the development.

Salisbury Journal: The current site.The current site. (Image: Cotsworld Archaeology)

Following the consultation, Low Carbon decided to reduce the size of the solar farm by 40 per cent, lower the number and frequency of HGVs coming in and out of the site and move the construction entrance northwards along Homington Road.

It is expected to take 18 to 20 weeks to build the solar farm and it would have an operational lifespan of approximately 40 years before the site is restored to agricultural use.

A report submitted alongside the planning application concluded that the proposed development would have no effect on the nearby Area of Natural Beauty and a limited to neutral effect on the overall character of the host Special Landscape Area (within which the site is located).

'There is a significant and demonstrable urgent need' for the solar farm

A spokesperson for Low Carbon said: "There is an urgent need for the deployment of low-cost renewable energy generation in the UK in order to tackle climate change, improve the UK’s security of energy supply and shield the consumer from volatile gas prices, all of which is enshrined within national energy policy.

"The principle of renewable energy, such as solar power, is strongly supported by local and national planning policy.

"Furthermore, the UK Government has committed to meeting a legally binding target of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 as well as strengthening the UK’s security of supply. There is therefore a significant and demonstrable urgent need for the proposed development."

Wiltshire Council has until February 28, 2024, to approve or reject the planning application (PL/2023/10394).