SOLAR FARMS in Herefordshire
CPRE Herefordshire supports the idea of sustainable energy generation, including PV solar panels, but, as with polytunnels, SCALE and LOCATION must be taken into account before planning permission is granted for solar arrays (sometimes called solar farms).
Solar Farms are invasive in the open countryside especially the large scale ones. We believe they should not be installed on good agricultural land.
The claim that sheep can graze under and around the arrays does not seem plausible. Contrary to the literature these arrays can cause nuisance to neighbours through the hum of the inverters.
One 10 hectare site, at Hoarwithy, just outside the Wye Valley AONB on Grades 1 & 2 agricultural land, is very evident in the open countryside and adjoins the Herefordshire Trail. It was granted planning permission in 2011.
Several other Solar Farms have recently been the subject of planning applications with some refused and others awaiting a decision.
In March 2015 Mr. Eric Pickles clarified the Government's position on planning guidance stating:
“Meeting our energy goals should not be used to justify the wrong development in the wrong location and that includes the use of high quality agricultural land. Protecting the global environment is not an excuse to trash the local environment.
We do....appreciate the continuing concerns.... about the unjustified use of high quality agricultural land. In the light of these concerns we want it to be clear that any proposal for a solar farm involving the BMVAL (Best and Most Versatile Agricultural Land)would need to be justified by the most compelling evidence”.
An example of good practice in Normandy, these panels are located on buildings