Residents protest against huge solar farm plan in Bassetlaw

More than 200 people gathered in Bassetlaw at the weekend in protest over plans for a huge new solar farm.

Monday, 8th November 2021, 3:30 pm

If approved, at more than 600 acres, the solar farm at West Burton, will be one of the largest single industrial scale solar panel sites in the UK.

Residents from surrounding villages gathered on Sunday to protest as part of their campaign to prevent the agricultural landscape around Clayworth and Gringley on the Hill from being built on.

Island Green Power have announced plans for the large scale farms at West Burton and Cottom, which together they said will provide more than 1,000MW of energy and power for 324,000 homes.

Residents and politicians gather in protest against plans for a solar farm at West Burton. (Picture: Sally Outram).

The new builds will replace decommissioned power stations on each of their respective locations, one of which closed last year and the other of which is due to close in 2022.

Residents said they are not opposed to green technology but agree that the right schemes should be in the right places and the “conservation villages” of Gringley on the Hill and Clayworth are neither of those.

They say the proposal is "disproportionate and not appropriate” and will have a “devastating” impact on the environment, as the land is a huge ecological asset, and is rich with wildlife such as brown hare, badgers, and deer.

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Residents took part in a walk in protest against plans for a solar farm at West Burton. (Picture: Sally Outram)

The proposed site is also quality agricultural land, which plays an important role in the general water management of the area, should any development of this kind go ahead, residents claim it will subsequently increase the risks of flooding in Clayworth.

Campaign also claim the site does not meet most of the Island Green Power’s own site selection criteria.

Bassetlaw MP Brendan Clarke Smith, who joined the protest walk along with district councillor, Simon Greaves, and county councillor, Tracey Taylor, said: “It’s great to be here today with so many constituents who obviously are launching this campaign against the solar farm plans.

"Nobody is saying the we are against renewables or green energy, in fact a lot of people are very supportive of that, but it has got to be in the right place and it’s got to be on the right scale. We are not just worried about that, but also the proximity to homes and we would like to discuss with the developers about what we can do to actually re-asses and see really whether some of the other sites can be considered or not.

"I’m here to support constituents as much as he can and hopefully make some progress.”

Once the developer has received feedback on the proposals, two applications will be submitted in late 2022 with a decision by the Secretary of State expected in 2023.

Island Green Power was established in 2013 and has delivered 14 solar projects across the UK and Republic of Ireland to date.

Dave Elvin, from the company, previously said: “We are really excited to share our emerging proposals for these projects.

“The projects will also be contributing towards energy resilience and reducing our reliance on increasingly expensive electricity and gas imports from Europe.

“We recognise the need to deliver these projects sensitively. We want to talk with local communities to understand their views and listen to their ideas.”

The campaign group has set up a dedicated Facebook page called No Solar Desert.