PLANS have been submitted to Somerset Council to attain permission to build a huge new solar farm on the levels.

Mr S Murphy has applied to create a 591,000 square metre solar farm on near Street.

The ground mounted solar photovoltaic park, dubbed Nythe Road Solar Park, would also feature an ancillary development on land at Nythe Road, with the site positioned to the south of the small village of Pedwell, on the southern side of Taunton Road.

The proposed site, is currently under agricultural use, and it is proposed that this would continue, with sheep planned to live on the site to graze the land and under the panels thanks to a specialised design plan.

In the planning application, Mr Murphy wrote: "It would make the site dual-use and represent an efficient use of land in spatial and environmental terms.

"Furthermore, the site can be returned to other agricultural use following decommissioning."

If plans are approved, free-standing, static solar photovoltaic (‘PV’) panels for the purposes of generating electricity will be installed on the site and connected to the local network via existing overhead electricity lines.

Once operational, the development will have a generating capacity of approximately 40MW and will produce grid compatible electricity for over 17,000 homes or over 20,000 electric vehicles per year.

The panels themselves would be arranged in a series of east to west rows, spaced approximately two to eight metres apart, up to a height of 3.2 metres tall at the highest point.

The site will be enclosed by a 2.4 metre 'high tensile wire deer fence' with wooden posts for security purposes.

Motion-sensor CCTV cameras will be positioned around the site on 3m tall fence posts to monitor the site and detect any unauthorised access by using passive infra-red (PIR) technology.

Three points of access to the proposed development, with two leading into the solar park itself and another into a proposed biodiversity area located along Nythe Road.

A fourth access to the temporary construction compound will be located along the A361 Taunton Road via the access road to Redlands Farm.

Regarding internal access tracks, the applicant said: "Internal access tracks will be kept to an 'absolute minimum' as agricultural vehicles including tractors, quadbikes and four-wheel drive vehicles will be capable of servicing the facility once operational.

"However, some permeable crushed stone access tracks or EVE TUFF track temporary road system is proposed throughout the solar park to enable exchange of inverters and replacement of heavier machinery."

For more information, search reference 2023/1892/FUL on Somerset Council's online planning portal.

A decision on the application will be made by Wednesday, May 29.