Julian raises spectre of Solar Farms on York’s Greenbelt with Minister
October 18, 2013
On Thursday, Julian voiced his concerns in Parliament over large scale solar farms in the rural, open countryside.
He has previously raised concerns over the Council’s proposed 40 ‘areas of search’ for wind farms in the draft Local Plan. However, due to the lack of sufficient wind speeds and scale of public objections, there is apprehension that the Council may now look to solar farms as an alternative.
Last week, the Department for Energy and Climate Change set out its plans to introduce a solar roadmap, which provides clarity over the need for new solar installations to be sensitively placed. In a letter to Parliamentary colleagues, the Energy Minister, Greg Barker MP, said that he was determined to “crack down” on inappropriately sited solar PV farms, particularly in the countryside.
In Parliament on Thursday, Julian queried the protection given to greenbelt land. He said:
“In welcoming the new solar road map, in which the Minister sets out guiding principles for the appropriate siting of solar PV, may I ask what added protection from solar farms the road map gives to greenbelt land?”
In his response, Mr Barker said:
“The road map sets out our industrial strategy. The right place to protect important areas such as the greenbelt, areas of outstanding natural beauty and grade 1 agricultural land, about which we care passionately, must be the planning process. In particular, we must ensure that local people have a proper say. That is why I am reminding local planning authorities that they have a duty to enforce that.”
Reflecting on the Minister’s comments, Julian said:
“Like the Minister, I am supportive of solar power in the right places, particularly in industrial areas and on brownfield sites. However, I welcome the tougher stance taken by the government on the potential for solar farms to blight our countryside. I have now written to the Minister to express my specific local concerns over the greenbelt land surrounding York being used for solar farms, which I believe could lead to the industrialisation of large tracts of our rural areas.”
Pictured: Julian speaking in the House of Commons.