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Fleet Coy resident opposed to Meridian Solar Farm says maize is more effective in energy production

A greater amount of useable energy is being created by crops rather than solar farms says an industry worker.

Helen Huyton works in farming and is fighting against the 750MW Meridian Solar farm which is being planned over several parcels of land around the Cowbit, Whaplode Drove and Holbeach Drove areas of South Holland.

She says that crops of maize which are used in anaerobic digesters produce 30MG per hectare compared to 0.5 to 1MG per hectare which is generated by solar panels.

Members of the Meridian Action group with Conservative candidate John Hayes. Helen Huyton is second from the right
Members of the Meridian Action group with Conservative candidate John Hayes. Helen Huyton is second from the right

Helen is part of the Meridian Action Group which is calling on people in South Holland to oppose the proposals put forward by Downing Renewable Developments - which will not be decided by local councillors but by a Government minister.

The Fleet Coy resident, who will be living close to one of the solar farms, said: “I work in farming and the land we are talking about is Grade I and 2 so it is really productive. It is wrong that we should be putting a solar panel on land that is very productive for food.

“The other thing that concerns me is how ineffective solar is as a method of producing electricity. The land near me is already growing maize which is used for anaerobic digestion in Crowland.

“In my job we produce maize for anaerobic digestion. The yield we get for for maize is 30MG per hectare while solar is 0.5 to 1MG per hectare. We are taking land that is effective in producing electricity and are covering it with solar panels which are producing electricity in a less effective way.

“Apart from an investment group and four farmers who are going to make a lot of money, it doesn’t seem to be many benefits for energy production or the local community.”

Helen said she is not against solar panels but is opposed to the ‘industrialisation’ of the countryside as these will be seen for miles in a fenland landscape.

She said that the large Meridian solar farm is targeting this area is due to the plans for pylons to stretch across the Lincolnshire coast from Grimsby to Walpole - and the infrastructure which will come with it.

Helen says the country is only 50% self-sufficient in food production and feels that this is another reason to oppose the plan.

“We don’t live in a climate where solar production is particularly effective as we don’t get enough sunshine,” said Helen, who is urging people to register objections.

She said: “We are in the pre-application stage at the moment and Meridian have a consultation period so you can go on the website and fill in the form.

“We are encouraging people to fill that in before July 11.

“We are also asking people to write to their parish council and district council and MP.”

What do you think? Let us know in the comments below…

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