Controversial Berryhill solar farm seeks two-year extension

The solar farm, near Fowlis, will feature around 150,000 panels.The solar farm, near Fowlis, will feature around 150,000 panels.
The solar farm, near Fowlis, will feature around 150,000 panels.
Developers behind controversial plans for a solar farm on Angus farmland are seeking a two-year extension to the project start date as grid connection issues hit the development.

The Berryhill solar farm, which when built will be one of Scotland’s largest, was originally rejected by Angus Council following uproar from local campaigners.

But the plans eventually got the green-light after the Scottish Government overruled the local authority’s decision on apeal in 2022.

Headings back to planning chiefs

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The appeal victory included a list of 15 planning conditions, including a requirement for work at Berryhill to be underway within three years.

Failing this, planning permission lapses – requiring an application to be re-submitted.

And delays in getting a connection to the grid has hampered the project’s schedule, with work now not expected to begin until 2027.

This means the application is heading back to planning chiefs.

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However, Angus planners have recommended the condition change be granted.

Writing in a committee report, they said: “An extended time period for implementation of the planning permission is justified to align with the anticipated availability of a grid connection.

“There are no material considerations that justify refusal.”

The solar farm will be built near the village of Fowlis and just south of Piperdam Leisure Resort and will contain around 150,000 panels – generating enough green energy to power 12,500 homes.

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The site totals more than 60 hectares and has racked up 5 fresh objections to the bid.

But objectors have raised concerns over the potential loss of top-grade agricultural land, including long-term, negative impacts on wildlife, and adverse impacts and congestion on the road network.

The application will be brought before councillors at a development standards committee on Tuesday.