Plans submitted for solar farm

A FARMER planning to build a 50-acre solar farm believes the scheme represents a good use of his land despite residents’ concerns.

Plans were submitted to North Herts District Council last week for the scheme, at Wisbridge Farm between Reed and Barkway. If built, it would feature up to 25,000 solar panels, which would provide power for 1,400 homes.

The solar farm is being developed by Push Energy in partnership with landowner Tom Duke, who told the Crow: “I’ve been a renewable energy enthusiast for some years, and I believe solar power to be the most reliable, low impact, proven form of renewable energy.

“Farmers are always looking to diversify, and 40 per cent of farmers in this country now have some form of renewable energy provision on their land. The government encourages this as we have obligations to meet as a country and face heavy fines if we do not do so.

“It is a change of use but we need to strike a balance. Of course we need land to grow food too, but I believe this using this relatively small piece of land to power 1,400 houses is a fair trade-off.”

Consultation has taken place in Barkway and Reed in recent months, and Mr Duke said the response had been largely postive.

“We had several people worried about the visual impact from the nearby footpath, but the farm will be 60 metres away and separated by a wildflower meadow and hedge planting so I believe this will be limited,” he said.

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The scheme could be considered when North Herts district council’s planning committee meets on November 27.

A petition against the scheme has been started by Clive Porter, who will be going door-to-door in Barkway and Reed collecting signature from those who oppose the farm.

He said: “If allowed to materialise this solar farm represents a monstrous intrusion into hitherto virgin countryside, and would create a blight on the landscape.

“The country requires more growing land as opposed to less to cater for our increasing population.”

Anyone who wishes to assist Mr Porter with his petition can contact him on 07767 352989.

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