Residents are 'skeptical' over solar farm plans

PLANS for the construction of a solar farm in Overton have been met with scepticism by local residents.

Representatives from Luminous Energy and Belectric presented details of the site at the parish council meeting on 8 January but came under scrutiny from homeowners in the village.

The solar farm would cover 17 acres of land at the L o r d s f i e l d P l a n t a t i o n with solar panels no more than 3.5m high and facing the south.

A number of residents attended the council meeting to express their concerns over the need for such a site and the damage it would cause to the countryside.

The planning application for the farm is to be submitted in late February before planned cons t r u c t i o n between July and September.

Raoul Tufnell, Belectric development and planning manager, said at the meeting: “This is the very early stages of this project prior to a full public consultation.

We are here to engage with the community and any decision on this farm will be the result of careful consideration.”

Fears over glare from the solar panels were also played down and the operation at the farm was described as ‘noiseless’ and the site as being ‘incredibly well screened’.

Resident Debra Rolfe said: “If a site is chosen that is flocked by trees you have to question how efficient a site could be for collecting solar energy. The field is immediately adjacent to an area of outstanding beauty and it has no benefit for Overton, which does not need a solar farm. There are plenty of suitable sites across the UK; this site will cause significant harm to the character and appearance of the countryside.”

Chris Chessells from Overton said: “Are we willing to place this solar farm here and ignore the development plan and conservation area just to give profit to a few parties?

Figures given at the meeting by Luminous and Belectric states that energy for 995 homes would be produced each year while preventing 1,412 tonnes of carbon dioxide gas.

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