21 February 2018
Lincoln Green Party has criticised government renewable energy policy following the planning application approval for a large solar farm locally. North Kesteven District Council’s planning committee approved the plans at a meeting in Sleaford on Tuesday (February 20).
The applicant, Branston Solar Extension Limited, has planning approval for 188,664 solar panels to be built on open agricultural land between Sleaford Road and Mere Road, near the Branston (Potatoes) Ltd factory.
John Radford of Lincoln Green Party said, "While the Green Party is totally supportive of solar power, it seems nonsensical to be taking food-producing land out of production, when only a tiny percentage of new buildings are fitted with panels. This development should create 49.9megawatts of energy, which would provide power for 15,000 homes; but that means that typically 14,000 of those homes will not have panels on their own roofs. Everywhere you go you can see new developments where the houses are not fitted with solar panels; the roofs are not even sloped so that they all face the sun, if the buyers want to fit them.”
Branston Solar Park Extension Ltd is being promoted by a consortium of local farmers who have promised to help contribute to the UK’s renewable energy and climate change targets, as well as ensuring that the land can revert back to agricultural use at the end of the scheme. The solar farm is due to cover 97 hectares and will have an operational life of 35 years.
John Radford concluded, “We need a more joined up way of supporting renewable energy. These should include changes to planning laws and building regulations so that all new buildings are designed with panels as standard. The subsidy system should not encourage loss of farm land, at least until there is nowhere else to erect panels.”
Written by John Radford for and on behalf of East Midlands Green Party