Wiltshire Publications

Solar farms: An unsightly desecration of the countryside or the future?

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A WILTSHIRE MP has called on the government to crack down on the number of solar farms that are being built across the county.  

The Conservative MP for North Wiltshire, James Gray, says he would rather see land used for agricultural purposes rather than sites for solar farms as he claims the UK will face a “real crisis in food production due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.” 

One such solar farm is being considered by Wiltshire Council on land on the west side of Storridge Road in Westbury. Westbury Town Council had previously voiced their concerns over the plans as it was on the site of a proposed relief road for Westbury. 

Westbury town councillor, Mike Sutton, says that there must be a balancing act between moving away from a reliance on fossil fuels and the need to produce our own food in the UK. 

Cllr Sutton said, “Speaking as chair of the highways, planning and development committee of the town council, we are not intrinsically opposed to solar farms but of course it depends where they are applied for. 

“Temperatures in this country have been rising rapidly recently so obviously the greener energy we can get the better, but the downside is that the country is also short on food production, and we don’t want the solar farms taking up arable land. If the plans were on a brownfield site, there would be no question about it. It has to be a balance and it depends where it is – it’s a trade-off. 

“I’m not convinced James Gray has a real view on it. What he is protecting is the interests of landed gentry who don’t want anything unsightly near their properties. There’s a little bit of nimbyism in this and I would suggest he may be thinking of the people who support him. 

“Given the context that Wiltshire Council have come out and said they are minded to refuse the incinerator application I think it’s safe to say that we would all rather see solar farms next door than a carbon belching incinerator.” 

James Gray’s said, “While I am strongly in favour of renewable energy, the government should rethink the type of land these installations will be built on. Solar farms seem to be spreading uncontrollably here in North Wiltshire.  

“They are an unsightly desecration of the countryside; they reduce the agricultural use possible from the area just when we are facing a real crisis in food production due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine; and they are of a technology which will probably be outdated before long.  

“Further, battery storage solutions also seem to be springing up all over the place. They are a huge fire risk, and they do not make a single contribution towards renewables. Myself and other colleagues across the house are therefore calling on the government to reduce the number of solar farms and battery storage solutions on agricultural land in favour of increasing food production.” 

The application can be found on Wiltshire Council’s planning portal, https://development.wiltshire.gov.uk/pr/s/  quoting reference PL/2021/10592. 

2 Responses to Solar farms: An unsightly desecration of the countryside or the future?

  1. James

    August 4, 2022 at 8:41 pm

    The MP has consistently voted against measures to prevent climate change, voted against greater regulations for fracking….

  2. SimonP

    August 11, 2022 at 5:00 pm

    Man made climate change is a myth, pure and simple. What man is doing, however, is polluting the planet and these millions of photovoltaics will be going into landfill after their 10 year lifespan has expired as they are totally non-recyclable.

    As for the hideous wind turbines popping up everywhere. Also made of non recyclable materials, costly to maintain, short lifespan, don’t produce anything when the wind isn’t blowing and kill birds and bats when it is! Look on YouTube for the one in Denmark where its clutch failed pr the more recent failure where the turbine sprayed its thousands of litres of oil all over the landscape. Do you want that near your house?

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