SOLAR panels are to be put on the roofs of railway carriages in Tintern as part of an upgrade of facilities.

Sixteen panels will be installed on two carriages at The Old Station Tintern as part of Monmouthshire council plans to improve visitor facilities and decarbonise the site.

A planning application, submitted by the council’s tourism and leisure department, was approved by councillors on Tuesday.

The plans form part of a wider upgrade of the visitor attraction – which includes a tearoom, carriages and an outdoor area – owned and managed by Monmouthshire council.

A licensing application was also recently lodged to include alcohol on the menu, while a separate planning application proposes installing two shower and toilet blocks to serve visitors and a nearby camp site.

However Tintern Station Friends, which supports the attraction by organising fundraising activities, objected to the solar panel development.

“Tintern Station Picnic Area is not a tourist attraction to be developed commercially,” an objection from the group said.

“Proposals do not preserve the unique distinctiveness of this setting and its sense of place.

“There will be adverse impact on the historic environment and heritage of this site.”

However councillors spoke in support of the plans at a Monmouthshire council planning committee meeting on Tuesday.

Cllr Ann Webb said the proposal supports the council’s carbon reduction policy.

“This application is part of improvements and quite considerable investment on this site,” she said.

Cllr Jez Becker also supported the plans and said having some renewables installed would “enhance the area”.

The station is located within the Wye Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and there are several listed buildings and structures on the site.

However council planners said the design of the solar panels was ‘lightweight’ and would not cause “unacceptable harm” to the setting.

Andrew Jones, from Monmouthshire council’s planning department, said the panels would also be “easily reversible” if they needed to be removed in the future.

He also said the “modest scale” of development and discreet location of the carriages would help preserve the character of the wider AONB.