The decision over a potential solar farm near Cranbrook has been delayed. It was the second deferral of the day at an East Devon District Council planning committee meeting on Tuesday [28 March].
The decision over a potential solar farm near Cranbrook has been delayed.
It was the second deferral of the day at an East Devon District Council planning committee meeting on Tuesday [28 March].
Data from CPRE Devon shows that there are more than 15 approved solar farms in East Devon, with more pending review by the council.
The developer, Aura Power Developments Ltd, claims that it will provide renewable energy to the equivalent of 21 per cent of East Devon’s homes.
The latest, if approved, will result in 26 hectares of a 56-hectare area in the village of Whimple being covered by mounted solar panels, although residents at the meeting argued that the actual coverage is significantly larger.
They also suggested that the loss of good qualify farmland should also be considered, but a representative for Aura explained that sunlight can still penetrate the panels and continue to help the grass grow.
Aura plans to provide £20,000 a year to nearby residents to help with their energy bills, but Conservative Cllr Richard Lawrence, who represents Whimple, said this is a “pitiful” amount of money being offered to residents. He also lamented the loss of “quality farmland.”
“This plan does nothing to allay the very real fears of food insecurity,” he added.
His Conservative colleague Cllr Philip Skinner suggested that the committee go and take a closer look at the site to determine how significant the impact will be.
Councillors at the meeting overwhelmingly agreed to head to Whimple to inspect the site, and the planning committee will revisit the application further on down the line.