A SOLAR farm scheme which would generate enough electricity to power the equivalent of 15,730 houses has been recommended for approval, despite the “industrial structures” impact on a rural landscape.

Hambleton District Council’s planning committee will hear the proposed 49.9 megawatts project would be based on a 226-acre site to the south east of Kirkby Fleetham and north east of Little and Great Fencote, north of Leeming Bar.

Lightsource BP, a global market leader in the development, acquisition and long-term management of international large-scale solar projects and smart energy, said the scheme would  result in 19,800 fewer tonnes a year of carbon dioxide emissions from energy generation – the equivalent of removing 4,210 standard cars from the road each year.

The proposal has been designed to accommodate sheep grazing beneath and between the rows of solar panels, to maintain meadows on the site.

A Lightsource BP spokesman said: “The development supports the Government’s policy for the UK’s transition to achieving a low carbon economy and assists in meeting he pressing need for deployment of renewable energy generation in the UK to meet legally binding obligations for 15 per cent of energy consumption from renewable sources by 2020.”

The proposed scheme has split opinions in nearby villages, but those in support of the plan form the majority to have submitted views to the authority.

Kirkby Fleetham resident Yvonne Luettke raised concerns over 30 heavy goods vehicle journeys a day to the site during the five-month construction representing a “danger to pedistrans, dog walkers, horse riders and the cyclists” using the narrow roads.

However, another resident of the village, Chris Coop, lodged his support for the application in a letter to the authority stating: “Nobody will see it. Nobody will smell it. Nobody will hear it. What’s not to like?”

Planning officers said the proposed development would result in a detrimental impact on the appearance of the local landscape. Nevertheless, due to the landscape and vegetation, they considered the impact was limited.

They added: “The proposed development will have an impact on the use of the local highway network, although this is mitigated through the provision of a detailed transport management plan.

“The proposed development will result in a change to the character of the landscape in this area, through the installation of what are effectively industrial structures. However, overall it is considered that the degree of harmful impact of the development on local landscape character is low.

“It is considered that the relatively minor detrimental impacts of the proposed

development are sufficiently offset by the environmental gains through the provision of renewable energy on the scale proposed to allow the proposed development to be recommended for approval.”