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Edgelaw Moor © Richard Webb

Plans Drawn Up for First Solar Farm

Midlothian’s first solar panel power station could be built near Rosewell, if plans materialise.

An application has been submitted to Midlothian Council to determine whether a detailed environmental study must be undertaken, before plans can be submitted to create a solar farm on land which was formally an opencast mine.

Land owners, the Crown Estate, have undertaken a feasibility study into constructing a five mega watt farm of photovoltaic panels, capable of generating enough power from the sun to provide electricity to a small town.

The site has been restored to grazing land after the previous opencast mine closed. Under plans, fifteen hectares of land will be utilised to mount dark blue, south facing solar arrays, which will harness the suns rays.

A spokesperson from The Crown Estate said:

Initial studies have been undertaken to assess the potential of The Crown Estate’s rural land for generating renewable energy. This has resulted in the identification of land at Edgelaw Moor, Newbigging – formerly an open-cast coal site – as possibly having potential for solar PV, and an initial scoping request has been submitted to Midlothian Council.

Any proposal for this site will require reinstatement of the former open-cast coal site and submission of a full planning application to Midlothian Council. Further investigation of the site is being undertaken and we will keep the local community informed as any proposals develop.

As an active land manager, The Crown Estate works on a commercial basis, taking a balanced approach to ensuring its assets are managed effectively and sustainably. As part of that long-term approach, the business invests in alternative land uses to help maintain the value of the estate and build strong links with local communities.

However, the project lies in an ‘Area of Great Landscape Value’ as dictated in the Midlothian Local Plan. Developers will have to convince the council that their plans will not intrude on the scenic nature of the neighbouring countryside.

Meanwhile, proceedings are ongoing to the south of the site, at Mount Lothian, to allow the construction of a wind farm. Following the council’s non-determination of the proposals, an appeal is now being considered by the Scottish Government. It is in its final stages and a verdict is expected soon.

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