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CPRE event to debate renewable energy schemes
5:30am Tuesday 1st October 2013 in News
PLANS for a giant solar farm on South Dorset MP Richard Drax's estate will be among schemes debated at a CPRE summit.
The proposals for the panels over 174 acres on the Charborough Estate in Purbeck will be discussed at the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) seminar on October 31.
There has been a mixed reaction to the solar farm scheme - the size of about 110 football pitches - for Mapperton Farm, near Almer, on the Drax family's Charborough Estate.
Renewable energy provider Good Energy has lodged the application for the Mapperton Farm Solar Park scheme.
Richard Nicholls, who is Dorset CPRE chairman, said the seminar was aimed at opening up the debate on renewable energy.
He said: “The aim is not simply to have people along that are on our side.
“We want to have a proper debate where people are given the opportunity to question people on both sides of the argument.”
He added: “It should be an informative and educational event which we hope to see people airing their views, both for and against renewable energy applications.”
Mr Nicholls said recently the county has seen applications for large solar 'farms' - including within the Area Of Outstanding Natural Beauty at Rampisham and on the Charborough Estate.
Residents are divided over the proposals at the Charborough Estate with locals commenting on the planning application online.
Mr Drax said in a statement: “Following a detailed and thorough assessment of the area, an application for planning consent for the proposal has been submitted.
“The local authority will now consider the suitability of the site for such use from a planning perspective.
“The opinion of the local community was sought prior to submitting the application and will continue to be incorporated. The site is well screened and the land will be planted to a wildflower rich grass sward.
“The local area will benefit from a community fund to be established. At the end of the project the land will return to the existing agricultural use.”
Hugo House, project developer at Good Energy said that they would plant wildflower meadows as part of the scheme.
He added: “Good Energy has committed to a £25,000 annual community fund, of which £5,000 will be specifically for the hamlet of Mapperton.
“We are also planning to provide roof-mounted solar panels at Sturminster Marshall First School and the village memorial hall, allowing them to generate their own green electricity.”
The CPRE event will run from 10.30am until 3pm with the £10 fee including a buffet lunch and tea/coffee.
It is £5 for those who do not want lunch.To book for the event email email@example.com or telephone 01305 265808 and leave a message.
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