“Carnage” could result on the roads if work to build a new solar farm in Barkham clashes with other nearby major construction projects, a councillor has warned.

Wokingham Borough Council has announced that work on the Barkham solar farm could soon begin, having overcome major delays. But with work also set to begin on two new schools and two new housing projects, some councillors have warned of a heavy increase in construction traffic.

Councillor Charles Margetts said: “If it’s managed properly it could go very smoothly, but if it’s not it’ll be a trainwreck.”

The council has plans to install 67,340 solar panels on the former site of High Barn Farm and part of Brook Farm, between Barkham and Finchampstead.

Energy distribution company Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) had originally suggested it could connect the project to the National Grid by 2026.

But National Grid then said upgrades would be needed to transmit the energy to the grid. And with a long queue of other projects also awaiting upgrades, the connection might not come until 2037.

Yet there was fresh hope when National Grid announced a plan to ease the backlog. Under the scheme, selected projects needing upgrade work will be included in a plan to add an extra 10 gigawatts of capacity to the grid.

Councillor Sarah Kerr – responsible for the environment – said the National Grid had also been clearing out its backlog by removing other “redundant” projects from the queue.

Now the council has had “verbal confirmation” from SSEN that connection to the grid could come at the end of 2026 or the beginning of 2027.

Councillor Kerr said: “This is great news as, not only will the new solar farm help us tackle the climate emergency by generating green renewable energy, but they will also help generate important income from selling power back to the grid. Money which we can use to help support residents and fund services for those most in need.”

Members of the council’s Climate Emergency Overview and Scrutiny Committee welcomed the news.

But they asked for plans to make sure that work won’t clash with other nearby construction work, including for a new school on Rooks Nest in Barkham and a refurbishment of the California Crossroads.

Councillor David Cornish said: “We’ll have absolute traffic carnage down there if this all happens at the same time.”

Council officers said each project would need construction management plans, and that the council would ensure they coordinate.

Between six to nine months of design work will need to be completed before construction of the solar farm can begin.