Solar photovoltaic (PV) park generating up to 8 MW of electricity

Canon Barns Rd, East Hanningfield, Chelmsford 17 March 2022

The proposal was full planning permission for the construction, operation, maintenance, and future decommissioning of a ground mounted Solar PV Farm, with an approximate export capacity of 8MW. The proposed development will generate renewable energy, which will be supplied directly to the Hanningfield WTW.

The overarching aim of the development is to meet the objectives of climate change, in providing renewable energy of Hanningfield Water Treatment Works, a high energy user, substantially reducing carbon emissions.

The renewable energy facility will further enhance the UK’s renewable energy industry and reduce the national dependency on fossil fuels.

Site Location

The 14 hectares site is set in a semi-rural landscape approximately 8.9km south east of Chelmsford City Centre.

The site is located within the LPA’s Green Belt allocation, and as such Very Special Circumstances were demonstrated, along with the production of a robust Green Belt Assessment.

Site Location Cannon Barns
The application site (red line boundary) within the wider site context (Source: Google Earth 2022)

Cable Route Cannon Barns
Location Plan for the application site (with cabling route to WTW)

Cannon Barns Surroundings
Images showing the site and immediate surroundings

What We Did

Enzygo was tasked with the preparation and submission of a full planning application to secure planning permission for a 8MW solar photovoltaic (PV) park, with solar arrays, substation, internal access tracks, transformers/inverters, fencing and gates, CCTV cameras, temporary construction compound, underground cable and connection to end user and other ancillary infrastructure, landscaping and biodiversity enhancements at Canon Barns Road, Chelmsford.

Enzygo produced and submitted technical documents from our internal teams and project managed the application from inception to the granting of consent.
The planning permission achieved at Canon Barns Road specifically provides renewable energy to Hanningfield WTW. This will substantially reduce carbon emissions and so help to combat climate change. The Solar PV Farm is a key element in Essex & Suffolk Water achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2027 as an organisation. The renewable energy facility will be accommodated without significantly affecting the landscape character of the wider countryside and will not negatively impact upon the amenities of neighbouring residents.

Enzygo liaised with the Local Authority at pre-application stage and throughout the application, establishing a clear recognition of what we, and our client, were hoping to accomplish from the development. This ensured the application was submitted promptly, with the Local Authority actively involved.

Site Layout Cannon Barns

Bluestone Rettendon 1 Ltd sought permission through this Solar PV Farm to produce renewable energy to ensure constant energy supplies at this time of constraints on new energy generation infrastructure and increasing demand from industry and communities. The energy produced at this facility will provide a key source off low-carbon electricity for the Hanningfield WTW.

The development has low impacts, with no emissions and very low noise levels. Enzygo were able to demonstrate the surrounding receptors would not be sensitive to impacts associated with the development, and that very special circumstances existed for the development to be located in the Green Belt.

From the outset, Enzygo recognised the requirements of the site to ensure the development was fit for purpose and acceptable to the client, Local Authority, and other stakeholders.

Following submission of the planning application, Enzygo engaged in extensive post-submission liaison with the Local Planning Authority, addressing all requests for information from consultees to ensure a planning policy compliant scheme was delivered for the client.

What We Achieved

The granted scheme represents a well thought out development that delivers renewable energy to a large consumer and future proofs the energy needs of the Water Treatment Works.

The Solar PV Farm is a key element in Essex & Suffolk Water achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2027 as an organisation. The Hanningfield WTW, is a substantial and critical element of regional infrastructure and provides fresh drinking water to London and Essex, including the residents of Chelmsford. Every day 225 million litres of water are treated and goes on to supply over half a million homes with clean drinking water.

The design and layout of the scheme successfully addressed the requirements of the Local Authority, overcoming potential constraints, with the client and other stakeholders fully immersed and represented throughout the process.

The intimate working relationship fostered by Enzygo ensured all parties understood the proposals and any concerns were addressed prior to the application being submitted and determined.

The Local Planning Authority were supportive of the proposed development and were able to grant full planning permission.

Enzygo continue to maintain a close working relationship with the client and are able to utilise the experience gained through this application to take forward similar developments across the country, continuing to obtain similar positive results.