Cornish residents battle to stop huge solar farm project

Hundreds of residents, farmers and small business owners in mid-Cornwall have joined forces to challenge a number of large-scale solar developments in the Cornish countryside.

Plans for five separate solar parks, covering 365ha of productive farmland near Truro, have recently been passed or are being considered by the council.

These schemes form part of Cornwall Council’s targeted 2,400ha of solar installation within the next five years.

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Locals fear vital agricultural land will be taken out of production, putting rural livelihoods and food security at serious risk.

Nick Dymond, who farms pigs and arable across 240ha at St Erme, said the loss of valuable arable land would be a huge threat to food security in Cornwall and the rest of the UK.

“Concrete, glass and tarmac do not grow great crops. We cannot afford to lose farming and the ability to feed ourselves.”

Another concerned farmer said: “We are being asked to bear an unreasonable burden of development. It’s like this bit of countryside doesn’t count, but it’s our land, it’s where we farm and where we live.”

Cornwall councillor Steve Arthur urged locals to not to give up on protesting the application, adding: “These are monstrosities that need to be stopped. We don’t want Cornwall covered in glass.”

One of the developments proposed by Downing Renewable Developments is an 85ha solar farm near the village of Trispen.

A document accompanying the planning application states: “Solar is an essential part of the UK’s energy security strategy, ensuring the UK’s clean energy independence is now a matter of national security.” It goes on to add: “The use of solar helps to make the UK more economically secure and resilient to be self-reliant for energy instead of having to rely on imports.”

The proposed construction phase of the development will last about six to nine months, and planning permission is sought for a temporary operational period of 30 years.

The Fairpark application can be viewed on Cornwall Council’s planning portal under reference PA23/02629.

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