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Protected: West Burton solar project – our concerns

By Lewis Townsend
14th February 2022

We have objected to the solar project proposed by Island Power, which is a series of large solar farms straddling the border between Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire.

CPRE Nottinghamshire strongly supports renewable energy, but this project does not meet our criteria for renewable energy projects. And it’s not even clear whether meets Island Power’s own criteria.

CPRE’s criteria for renewable energy projects:

New onshore wind and solar developments should

  1. minimize impacts on landscapes, tranquillity and heritage, through decentralization and appropriately-scaled development
  2. bring net benefits to wildlife
  3. benefit the rural economy, form a cornerstone of local enterprise and jobs
  4. and be supported or owned by local communities
  5. be maximized within urban areas with priority given to using previously developed land, in line with CPREs ‘brownfield first’ policy.

The West Burton proposal does not meet these criteria. The development:

  • would use good quality, productive agricultural land rather than a brownfield site
  • follows the current centralized model of energy generation and distribution, which is not resilient or future proof (significant weather events or technical problems can lead to outages for a large number of people)
  • has not been developed in conjunction with the local community and does not have the support of local people, who do not have a stake in it.

Have Island Power’s own criteria been met?

The project also does not meet Island Power’s own site selection criteria, which include that the site should be “low grade agricultural or former brownfield sites (landfills, quarries etc)”. The West Burton site clearly does not meet this criterion.

Island Power claim to have “undertaken an extensive process of site selection” which they say considered factors including

  • existing land use and quality
  • the need to avoid existing environmental or heritage sites
  • other environmental issues such as minimising visual impact

However, no information on the work undertaken has been provided. So it is unclear whether the West Burton site meets these criteria.

You can view our formal objection so far here.  We await further information from Island Power and will respond accordingly.

 

 

solar panels in a field
Zbynek Burival / Unsplash