Green belt to get solar panel farm

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

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 last week.

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.

Coun Jim Marsh said 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.”

The site is greenbelt land but the council’s planning officers argued that there were “very special circumstances to use the green belt land” because of the “very significant workforce” and the “operation’s high energy demands.”

Concerns were put forward about potential glare from the panels.

But planning officer Steve Brown said: “We felt it wasn’t necessary to include a condition about glare because the site is some three kilometres away from the road to the east, and the panels will point south.

“They are also designed to absorb light rather than reflect it, and there are buildings in between the panels and the road.”