Anger at solar farm plans on Warwickshire green-belt - The Leamington Observer

Anger at solar farm plans on Warwickshire green-belt

PLANS for an industrial-scale solar plant on Warwickshire green-belt land is facing fierce opposition from residents.

Friends of the Green Belt (FrOG) are battling plans to build a 279 acre solar plant on the outskirts of Kenilworth.

National firm Enso Energy recently submitted a proposal to build the plant – which would be around the size of 140 football pitches – on food-producing green-belt land near to Honiley, Beausale and Haseley Knob.

FrOG member Sue Gallagher said: “Whilst we agree renewables are the future, energy production must be balanced against the need for green, open spaces. Most people will think of the small solar farms they’ve seen popping up over the last decade.

“But the scale of this site is shocking – it wraps around three villages and is disproportionate. This is not the way that renewable energy should be developed.”

The proposed plant would be covered in three metre steel panels, along with rows of 40ft shipping containers, an electrical sub-station and other metal-clad structures – all surrounded by fence panels – including wildlife-proof fencing to keep out the small herds of deer – and CCTV cameras.

FrOG member Richard Holdgate added the plant would come at the expense of a vast area of green belt land.

He added: “All the power generated will be transmitted to Solihull borough and then into the national grid. There will be absolutely no local benefit derived from this proposed site. Only the loss of food-producing land and green, open space that provided a sanctuary for so many locals during lockdown.”

But Enso Energy has assured, while the power will go to a substation in Berkswell, the distribution network would serve the villages of Beausale, Haseley, Honiley and Wroxall in Warwick district.

Company spokesman Simon Wheeler also argued the plant would serve thousands of homes and help meet climate change targets.

He said: “We’ve got to change the way we generate electricity. The proposed solar farm would generate enough renewable energy to meet the annual electricity demands of approximately 12,000 homes and offset hundreds of thousands of tonnes of CO2 over the life of the project.

“Our proposals are in line with Warwick District Council’s declarations of a climate emergency, as well as the local and national climate change targets that are enshrined in law.

“In addition to generating renewable energy, this temporary planning application would provide a range of ecological and landscape improvements thereby ensuring the project provides a biodiversity net gain.”

He added a public consultation had allowed the company to shape proposals according to residents’ feedback.

The group is encouraging concerned residents to submit their objections to Warwick District Council before the deadline on Friday (December 17).

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