Thorne Colliery solar farm could create 30 jobs

Residents look on as at the pit head gear at Thorne Colliery starts to tumble in 2004.
Residents look on as at the pit head gear at Thorne Colliery starts to tumble in 2004.

Up to thirty jobs could be created if plans to build a solar farm on a former Doncaster colliery site are given the go-ahead.

Proposals have been submitted to Doncaster Council to install panels on the one-time home of Thorne Colliery near Moorends.

If the plans by energy company RES are given the go-ahead, Thorne Colliery Solar Farm would be capable of producing renewable electricity to power 1,500 homes a year and could be open by next year.

Project manager Eliot Davies said: “This application is the result of thorough and extensive environmental assessments of the site and the surrounding area.

“Based on the results of our investigations, we believe the former Thorne Colliery site offers an excellent opportunity to generate renewable electricity using the power of the sun, continuing the tradition of using this land as an important source of energy.

“Should the project receive consent, not only will this well-designed asset bring associated community and economic benefits, the solar panels will provide a homegrown source of renewable electricity; lowering our carbon footprint and reducing our reliance on foreign imports - which in turn helps to keep energy prices down in the longer term.”

Bosses estimate the project could create around 25-30 jobs on site during the construction phase with posts such as general labouring, machinery operators, security, welding, electrical, plumbing and building up for grabs. In addition, the solar farm would require contractors to undertake fencing, landscaping, cleaning and waste management, as well as materials haulage and supply.

A spokesman added: “We would confidently expect a significant proportion of these skills and services could be sourced locally. Where we do employ people from further afield, there will be a need for local rented accommodation.

The planning application follows a period of consultation with local people, which included an exhibition at Moorends in April 2014. Having had the opportunity to view the plans and ask RES questions, 68 per cent of those who left feedback were supportive of the proposed solar farm.

However, local councillor Martin Williams described the plan as “a waste of money.”

He added: “We should be bringing proper industry and jobs to Thorne, not just a load of reflective glass.”

A decision is expected by the end of this year.