The 37-acre land, owned by Costain since the early 1960s, is estimated to have the capacity to generate 5.5MW of energy, which is sufficient to power about 1,650 homes.
The site is located near Sipson Road and Holloway Lane in the London Borough of Hillingdon.
Despite being initially used for gravel extraction, it was then leased in 1966 to the Greater London Council for the purpose of landfilling refuse and excavated material. The land was sealed and reinstated in 1972 prior to being returned to Costain.
Due to its poor state as a result of landfilling and disposal activities, the land has since been unused and undeveloped.
However, since the release of new update of National Planning Policy Framework, local planning authorities are encouraged to identify suitable areas for renewable resources and support renewable initiatives.
As part of the National Planning Policy Framework, local planning authorities are encouraged to develop and promote energy from renewable sources and design policies to maximise renewable developments.
Additionally, the local authorities must support efforts of developers to find suitable areas for renewable resources, encourage community-led renewable initiatives as well as help to identify opportunities where development can draw energy supply from decentralised energy systems.
In the light of new planning guidance, Costain’s solar farm plans could be a viable and profitable proposition.
The clean energy produced from the solar farm will be fed into the national grid locally to supply power to local developments and residential houses.
Costain is also planning to remediate the environment through extensive planting to improve the visual as well as health and safety aspects of the site.
Ian Shervell of Costain’s Investments Team, said: “A number of projects have been looked at over the years but none of them were viable.
“We believe the solar farm ticks all the boxes. The intention is to seek planning permission to develop a solar farm which will not only generate green renewable energy but also enhance the site’s poor biodiversity and ecology.”
Upon the approval, the construction phase is expected to be complete within three months. The solar farm will have a design life of 30 years, following which it will be removed.
Photo: The Construction Index