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Many solar farm projects will ‘never see the light of day!’ More applications lodged than the country will ever need, says Government energy minister following fears of South Kesteven residents





A government energy minister has said far more solar farm applications have been made to connect to the National Grid than the country will ever need.

Graham Stuart MP made the remarks when recent solar farm concerns expressed in South Kesteven and North Lincolnshire were put to him by the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS), writes Ivan Morris Poxton.

There has been increased backlash against the rise in solar farms proposed in Lincolnshire.

Graham Stuart, Conservative MP for Beverley and Holderness
Graham Stuart, Conservative MP for Beverley and Holderness

South Kesteven District Council had a motion this week to recognise concerns, particularly over good agricultural land being taken up by solar farms.

In a recent solar farm discussion in North Lincolnshire, a councillor also called for the government to legally require companies behind major green projects to compensate unhappy residents.

Put to Mr Stuart, he said “a very large number” of solar farm applications had been made for connection to the National Grid, “far more than the country will ever need.”

Energy Minister Graham Stuart MP visited Phillips 66 Humber refinery at South Killingholme last month
Energy Minister Graham Stuart MP visited Phillips 66 Humber refinery at South Killingholme last month

“An awful lot of the projects, talking nationally, will never see the light of day,” he said.

He suggested this should provide “some reassurance” to communities – though applications are being made, some will never be built.

In South Kesteven, the villagers of Londonthorpe warn that solar farms threaten their local landscape.

Energy Minister Graham Stuart MP visited Phillips 66 Humber refinery at South Killingholme
Energy Minister Graham Stuart MP visited Phillips 66 Humber refinery at South Killingholme

Three out of the eight most recently approved or planned solar farms near Grantham encircle the village, reports LincsOnline.

In North Lincolnshire, a solar farm capable of producing enough energy for 10,100 homes was approved at Ulceby in February. Winterton Solar Farm, between the town and South Ferriby, was approved on appeal last summer.

A solar farm spanning 51 hectares is proposed at Roxby.

An application for an associated 25M telecomms mast was also recently made for Little Crow Solar Park, near Scunthorpe.

That scheme, given planning inspectorate approval in 2022, will produce enough energy to power up to 60,000 homes – the equivalent of half of North Lincolnshire.

“Our estimate is that far less than one per cent of the UK agricultural land will ever be used for ground-mounted solar,” he said, adding there was a national target of 70GW of solar power by 2025.

“We are hearing the concerns to make sure that the quality of the land is accurately reflected in the planning applications.

“Our policy is quite clear that land only of lower agricultural value should be prioritised for use,” he said.

Developers wanting to place solar farms on better value agricultural land had to demonstrate strong reasoning to justify it.

He argued there was a rigorous system to ensure the right balance between energy and food security.

Also, a number of renewable developers set up community funds where they built on.

The recently approved Ulceby solar farm committed to a community fund when applied for.



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