Urgent call to protect Stratford district from excessive solar farms - The Stratford Observer

Urgent call to protect Stratford district from excessive solar farms

URGENT calls are being made to do more to protect agricultural land in Stratford district from being taken over by solar farms.

Coun Bill Fleming and Coun Alan Scorer are set to appeal to their colleagues on Stratford District Council to produce a Supplementary Planning Document which defines SDC’s policies on renewable energy and addresses the cumulative impact, scale and size of solar farms on greenfield sites in the area.

The councillors are putting forward the Motion of Notice at the next meeting of the Full Council on Monday July 8.

They believe that solar farm developers are actively targeting agricultural landowners across the district and due to large swathes of green belt in the northern part of the district and the Areas of Natural Beauty to the west, there is a concentration of pre-application consultations and planning applications arising around the central and eastern areas of the district. This is exacerbated by the emergence of planning applications in Warwick district on the borders of Stratford district.

The councillors continue that SDC needs to have a balanced and careful approach towards the development of renewable energy sites as while the transition to cleaner energy is a priority, it should be done in a way which minimises longer term impacts on local rural communities and landscape and offers financial recompense for those residents who are affected.

A statement to be read by Coun Fleming at the meeting states: “While it is recognised and supported that the district council has signed up to a climate emergency, this should not be at the risk of destroying 1,000s of acres of rural landscape that makes this district so special.

“Farming communities and villages are particularly vulnerable when large scale solar panel and green energy companies develop large scale fuel installations, when this will not result in cheaper electricity nor fuel those communities most affected by these developments. There is also an urgent need to protect our food security and minimise the importation of food from Europe and further afield. Arable land used for food production therefore needs to be safeguarded within the district.

“A greater focus for solar development within the Stratford district therefore needs to be concentrated on roofs of houses, apartment blocks, commercial buildings, and brown field sites.”

The motion, once proposed and seconded, will be referred to SDC’s Cabinet for consideration.


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