We have just received a "community consultation leaflet" about a proposal for a solar farm.
Virtually all the land in the Northern Site Area is very productive arable land which grows wheat and barley. Every few years some of the land grows rape seed.
In the Middle Site Area the farmland is a mix of Arable and Dairy farming again very productive.
The leaflet claims that there would be continued agricultural use which could include sheep grazing, bee keeping, allotments and community gardens!! Not sure how that could work as every existing solar farm locally is surrounded by deer fencing and CCTV to keep people out. A farming friend who has a solar farm on an area of poor land says it is almost impossible to effectively manage sheep in a solar farm as they tried and failed. The sheep scatter and hide under the panels it is exceedingly labour intensive on the day to round them up to provide necessary care worming, feet trimming, shearing etc etc. The existing local solar farms have all been on land that was of poor agricultural value and/or very prone to flooding so that is actually a good use for that land.
Interestingly Blenheim Estate backs this (a fair chunk of the land belongs to the estate) however none of the luxury 4-6 bed houses they have recently had built in Woodstock has any form of Solar panels on the roofs. This is a development of about 30 houses which the District Council refused planning for but the estate won on appeal to the planning inspector. Neither have they built the solar farm they have planning permission for which was supposed to power Blenheim Palace.............
I know we "British Isles" need to become self sufficient in energy but we should also maximise our food production as we currently import a huge % of food and it seems counter productive to put solar farms on proven productive farmland. (