Ministers have been told that thousands of acres of countryside designated for solar farms should not be disturbed until the full environmental impact has been assessed.
- Farms require the installation of large areas of reflective solar panels on agricultural land.
- Solar Campaign Alliance wrote ministers to urge them to halt their plans.
- Panels will degrade the countryside and could significantly impact food production
By Amy Oliver, The Mail on Sunday
Published: | Updated:
A campaign to stop the spread of solar development should protect ten thousand acres of countryside that have been earmarked for solar farms.
Mega-farms are farms that install large amounts of reflective solar panels on agricultural land in order to meet Government targets for green energy.
However, the Solar Campaign Alliance (SCA), which represents 23 different action groups fighting against proposed developments across the country, has written to ministers to urge them to halt these plans.
It claims that the panels will destroy the countryside and, by taking over fertile land, could have a significant impact on British food production.
Mega-farms are a system that installs large amounts of reflective solar panels on agricultural land in order to meet Government targets for green energy. (file photo of a Kent solar farm)
Michael Alder, chairman of SCAs, is an emeritus professor at the University of Essex in rural environment. He said: This is only the tip of the Iceberg. We’ve identified 300+ solar sites that are either under consideration or in the planning stages. It’s on the rise.
There is a lot to be afraid about what this could mean for the countryside. People begin to see the potential for food and environmental security problems and realize that these issues are not as bad as they thought.
I don’t mind solar power being installed on commercial roofs, housing, brownfield sites, or any other low-grade land, but it doesn’t make sense to place it on high-grade land.
The Mail on Sunday reported last month that solar farms were being planned for approximately 1,000 acres of land in rural areas.
Even though solar energy is less efficient than wind it is still being used in the rollout.
However, landowners and farmers are being lured by the enormous sums of money that can be made.
Prof Alder calculates that a 64 hectare (158 acres) site could generate approximately 4.8million gross annually for a developer. Solar companies can lease land from farmers and receive 1,000 per acre.
Prof Alder stated that the income from growing wheat is approximately 116,000 per annum, which is a significant difference.
According to The Solar Campaign Alliance, panels will degrade the countryside and could take over fertile land that could negatively impact British food production (file photo: solar farm in Deon).
These are scary figures. They will make money and that is their motivation.
The SCA represents groups like Say No To Sunnica which campaigns against a proposed megascale 2,800-acre farm in Suffolk or Cambridgeshire.
It also calls for regulation of BESS, the batteries that sit alongside solar panels and store energy.
More than 40 explosions or fires that release toxic gasses have been reported at locations around the world since 2012.
Just before Christmas, the Alliance wrote to the Government expressing its concerns.
We must look at the bigger picture if we want to be truly green.