Part of rural Herefordshire could be turned into a huge solar farm under a newly submitted plan.

Backers of the scheme say it would provide up to 43MW of sustainable energy, equivalent to the annual electricity use of over 11,000 homes, or about two-fifths of all homes in Hereford.

Conrad Energy of Oxfordshire plans to install photovoltaic arrays across 46 hectares, the area of around 60 football pitches, straddling the river Frome between Dormington and Mordiford east of Hereford.

Herefordshire Council said a year ago that it supported the proposal in principle, but that the visual impact of the development would need to be minimised.

The energy company’s agent said the scheme “has been designed to be as visually unobtrusive as possible”.

After a consultation with nearby residents in summer, it was agreed that screening around the site would be increased.

As well as retaining existing hedgerows and tree belts, around 740m of additional hedgerow, incorporating specimen trees, would be planted.

A “glint and glare” study found the panels would have negligible impact on drivers on surrounding roads.

The scheme would also ensure “biodiversity net gain”, the application said.

The riverside corridor through the solar farm “will provide enhanced habitat for riparian mammals, nesting bird habitat, foraging resources for a range of species and shelter for fish species”, while around 40 hectares of wildflower grassland would also be created.

Five car parking spaces for visitors would be installed, along with a “permissive footpath” around the site.

It would require the building of a substation, 1.8m-high surrounding fencing and security cameras on 3m-high poles. After 30 years the site would revert to farmland.

“The scope to use local contractors would be limited due to the specialist nature of the work,” the company's agent said. Once approved, construction would take three to four months.

The UK has committed to ambitious and legally binding carbon reduction targets over the coming decades, as it progresses to its goal of carbon neutrality by 2050, the application points out.

A different company made enquiries to Herefordshire Council in spring about an even bigger solar farm three miles further north, at Westhide.

Bartestree with Lugwardine Group Parish Council was approached for comment.