Decision deferred over Devon's largest solar farm plan

    A decision over controversial plans for what would be Devon’s largest solar farm – and bigger than the Vatican City – has been delayed so councillors can go on a site visit. The Langford Solar Farm Application Site would occupy approximately 61 hectares of agricultural land to the east and north-east of the village of Langford.

    SOLAR FARM DEFERRED

    A decision over controversial plans for what would be Devon’s largest solar farm – and bigger than the Vatican City – has been delayed so councillors can go on a site visit.
    The Langford Solar Farm Application Site would occupy approximately 61 hectares of agricultural land to the east and north-east of the village of Langford.
    The £40m development would have an export capacity of 49.9MW, would mean a reduction of approximately 20,317t of CO2 emissions annually, and would be able to meet the energy needs of approximately 10,077 homes in the Mid Devon.
    The solar farm would be operational for 40 years before being returned to its current agricultural use, would cover over 17 large fields over 152 acres, extending over a mile in length, and it would be surrounded by over four miles of security fencing with CCTV cameras and have a life of 40 years.
    But Mid Devon District Council’s planning committee, when they met last Wednesday, voted to defer a decision over the proposal until they could get further information and go and visit the site themselves.
    Planning officers had recommended that the scheme be given the go ahead, but after a near two hour meeting, councillors agreed that the decision should be deferred for more information to be provided and for a site visit to take place after May 17 when outdoor gatherings of up to 30 people are set to be allowed by the roadmap out of Lockdown.
    Recommending approval, the report of the planning officer had said: “As a renewable energy facility, the proposal’s location within the countryside is acceptable in principle. The limited visual harm that the proposal would give rise to would be outweighed by the environmental benefits of allowing it.
    “It is considered that the proposal would not result in unacceptable harm in terms of local and residential amenity; highway safety; surface water drainage arrangements; flooding risk; ecology or in relation to the availability of agricultural land.”
    But there had been 136 objections to the scheme, compared to just two letters of the support, and all the parish councils the scheme would affect had objected to the plans.
    Dr Phillip Bratby, speaking on behalf of Devon CPRE and the local community, added that the proposal was unacceptable in terms of its adverse impact on the landscape, its location on a floodplain, its lack of benefits and its adverse impact on the amenity of local residents.
    Councillors unanimously agreed to defer the decision for further information to be gathered and for a site visit to be carried out.
     

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