Concerns growing over plans to construct solar farm on Richard Drax's estate

Dorset Echo: CONCERNED: Protesters against the solar farm CONCERNED: Protesters against the solar farm

CONCERN is growing over plans to build a giant solar farm on South Dorset MP Richard Drax’s estate.

Countryside campaigners claim there are now more than 500 objections to Good Energy’s application for Mapperton Farm on the Charborough Estate off the A31 near Almer.

Councillors will meet to discuss the plan on November 11.

There are more than 330 public comments for and against the proposal listed on East Dorset District Council’s website but the Dorset branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) claims there are actually more than 500 objections as some representations have been counted as one.

David Peacock from the group said it showed the strength of feeling against the plan.

A council spokesman said all comments will be taken into consideration when members of the planning committee meet to discuss the application.

The CPRE said the 174 acre farm, about the size of 110 football pitches and the second largest in the country if built today, would ruin the landscape and lead to ‘industrialisation’ of the countryside.

While the organisation supports renewable energy in principle, members say the proposed site is good quality agricultural land in unspoilt countryside and protected by planning policies.

Mr Peacock said: “This will be outrageous industrialisation of beautiful unspoilt countryside.”

Dorset CPRE vice chairman Stephen Howard added it would represent a ‘large artificial intrusion’ into sensitive countryside.

The group argues the scheme would affect heritage assets, impact on local roads and would not benefit the community a great deal.

The scheme has its supporters too. They include Transition Town Dorchester.

Judy Edwards, on behalf of the group, wrote that it would help Dorset towards meeting renewable energy targets by supplying the equivalent of more than 6,800 homes and that the environment would benefit through plans to revitalise hedgerows, manage pasture land and enhance wildlife habitats. She said the company behind the scheme, Good Energy, was an ethical firm which has a proven track record in the development of renewable forms of electricity.

  • A CPRE summit on renewable energy planned for Frampton village hall on October 31 has been cancelled.

Area will benefit from community fund

RICHARD 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.”

Good Energy has said it will plant wildflower meadows as part of the scheme, commit £25,000 to an annual community fund and provide solar panels at a local school and memorial hall.

Comments (15)

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8:58am Tue 22 Oct 13

Bill Poster says...

I wonder how many of the objectors have solar panels on THEIR roofs?
I wonder how many of the objectors have solar panels on THEIR roofs? Bill Poster
  • Score: 7

9:46am Tue 22 Oct 13

rjimmer says...

CPRE " members say the proposed site is good quality agricultural land" @@@@@ From what I have seen, it is still possible to graze sheep around and under these panels, so the only agricultural production that is lost is that which is obtained by the use of chemicals. I would have thought that this was something the CPRE would encourage.
CPRE " members say the proposed site is good quality agricultural land" @@@@@ From what I have seen, it is still possible to graze sheep around and under these panels, so the only agricultural production that is lost is that which is obtained by the use of chemicals. I would have thought that this was something the CPRE would encourage. rjimmer
  • Score: 9

11:53am Tue 22 Oct 13

PHonnor says...

This stinks to high heaven! He opposes wind farms but backs solar panels on HIS land!!! Dont you think we have lined his pockets for long enough, tories looking after themselves, again!
This stinks to high heaven! He opposes wind farms but backs solar panels on HIS land!!! Dont you think we have lined his pockets for long enough, tories looking after themselves, again! PHonnor
  • Score: 4

12:41pm Tue 22 Oct 13

arlbergbahn says...

i wish people would make up their minds what they want. Do they want to use electricity in ever increasing amounts? do they want a new programme of Nuclear power station construction? Do they believe that future energy needs can be met by Renewable energy? Where do they recommend these installations are located, then? People just seem to want it all ways.
i wish people would make up their minds what they want. Do they want to use electricity in ever increasing amounts? do they want a new programme of Nuclear power station construction? Do they believe that future energy needs can be met by Renewable energy? Where do they recommend these installations are located, then? People just seem to want it all ways. arlbergbahn
  • Score: 4

12:50pm Tue 22 Oct 13

February1948 says...

Bill Poster wrote:
I wonder how many of the objectors have solar panels on THEIR roofs?
I agree. And roofs bearing solar panels are an absolutely hideous eyesore.
With regard to the proposed solar farm on the Drax Estate, at least these would be at ground level and, similar to those in other places might be invisible from the road, unlike those useless wind turbines cropping up all over the place for which we are paying a very heavy subsidy on our crippling electricity bills.
[quote][p][bold]Bill Poster[/bold] wrote: I wonder how many of the objectors have solar panels on THEIR roofs?[/p][/quote]I agree. And roofs bearing solar panels are an absolutely hideous eyesore. With regard to the proposed solar farm on the Drax Estate, at least these would be at ground level and, similar to those in other places might be invisible from the road, unlike those useless wind turbines cropping up all over the place for which we are paying a very heavy subsidy on our crippling electricity bills. February1948
  • Score: 2

12:51pm Tue 22 Oct 13

elloello1980 says...

Bill Poster wrote:
I wonder how many of the objectors have solar panels on THEIR roofs?
probabaly a few. but I would say it's a poor comparison. try, I wonder how many of the objectors have solar panels in THEIR gardens? I'd say probably none ;)
[quote][p][bold]Bill Poster[/bold] wrote: I wonder how many of the objectors have solar panels on THEIR roofs?[/p][/quote]probabaly a few. but I would say it's a poor comparison. try, I wonder how many of the objectors have solar panels in THEIR gardens? I'd say probably none ;) elloello1980
  • Score: 0

12:53pm Tue 22 Oct 13

elloello1980 says...

February1948 wrote:
Bill Poster wrote: I wonder how many of the objectors have solar panels on THEIR roofs?
I agree. And roofs bearing solar panels are an absolutely hideous eyesore. With regard to the proposed solar farm on the Drax Estate, at least these would be at ground level and, similar to those in other places might be invisible from the road, unlike those useless wind turbines cropping up all over the place for which we are paying a very heavy subsidy on our crippling electricity bills.
You speak about people putting solar panels on thie roof as a negative?

Upset cos your neighbour has some? ;)
[quote][p][bold]February1948[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Bill Poster[/bold] wrote: I wonder how many of the objectors have solar panels on THEIR roofs?[/p][/quote]I agree. And roofs bearing solar panels are an absolutely hideous eyesore. With regard to the proposed solar farm on the Drax Estate, at least these would be at ground level and, similar to those in other places might be invisible from the road, unlike those useless wind turbines cropping up all over the place for which we are paying a very heavy subsidy on our crippling electricity bills.[/p][/quote]You speak about people putting solar panels on thie roof as a negative? Upset cos your neighbour has some? ;) elloello1980
  • Score: 0

12:54pm Tue 22 Oct 13

elloello1980 says...

PHonnor wrote:
This stinks to high heaven! He opposes wind farms but backs solar panels on HIS land!!! Dont you think we have lined his pockets for long enough, tories looking after themselves, again!
^ he/she undertsands!
[quote][p][bold]PHonnor[/bold] wrote: This stinks to high heaven! He opposes wind farms but backs solar panels on HIS land!!! Dont you think we have lined his pockets for long enough, tories looking after themselves, again![/p][/quote]^ he/she undertsands! elloello1980
  • Score: 1

5:01pm Tue 22 Oct 13

westbaywonder says...

Behind this story are the real facts but you will never know as he is "The Drax" LOL
Behind this story are the real facts but you will never know as he is "The Drax" LOL westbaywonder
  • Score: -3

8:05pm Tue 22 Oct 13

zoltan the bearded says...

Nimbyism - there's minimal impact once the site is set up. What are these people on about. Put your head in the sand and ignore future energy needs and global warming...in fact you might be able to do that in Dorset in 100 years time.
Nimbyism - there's minimal impact once the site is set up. What are these people on about. Put your head in the sand and ignore future energy needs and global warming...in fact you might be able to do that in Dorset in 100 years time. zoltan the bearded
  • Score: -1

8:08pm Tue 22 Oct 13

RobinofLocksley says...

""The group argues the scheme would affect heritage assets, impact on local roads and would not benefit the community a great deal. ""

As objections go, these seem a bit vague. Is this just NIMBYism again?
""The group argues the scheme would affect heritage assets, impact on local roads and would not benefit the community a great deal. "" As objections go, these seem a bit vague. Is this just NIMBYism again? RobinofLocksley
  • Score: 0

9:34pm Tue 22 Oct 13

rjimmer says...

PHonnor wrote:
This stinks to high heaven! He opposes wind farms but backs solar panels on HIS land!!! Dont you think we have lined his pockets for long enough, tories looking after themselves, again!
Wind farms are the most expensive for of generation. Most people having solar panels installed, are using a much higher fraction of their property than this scheme is.
[quote][p][bold]PHonnor[/bold] wrote: This stinks to high heaven! He opposes wind farms but backs solar panels on HIS land!!! Dont you think we have lined his pockets for long enough, tories looking after themselves, again![/p][/quote]Wind farms are the most expensive for of generation. Most people having solar panels installed, are using a much higher fraction of their property than this scheme is. rjimmer
  • Score: 0

9:52pm Tue 22 Oct 13

MrSmith85 says...

February1948 wrote:
Bill Poster wrote:
I wonder how many of the objectors have solar panels on THEIR roofs?
I agree. And roofs bearing solar panels are an absolutely hideous eyesore.
With regard to the proposed solar farm on the Drax Estate, at least these would be at ground level and, similar to those in other places might be invisible from the road, unlike those useless wind turbines cropping up all over the place for which we are paying a very heavy subsidy on our crippling electricity bills.
I think people are missing the point here.

Yes we do need renewable energy but loosing valuable farm land in a time when we need to INCREASE food production due to the growing population doesn't add up. In the next 40 years farmers have to produce as much food as has been produced since farming began in about 10,000BC. Yes sheep can graze around the solar panels BUT this land is good arable land, so why not put the panels on non arable land?? Solar farms take up a huge footprint of land compared to a wind turbine. Wind turbines will also be producing energy at night when its dark where as a solar panel obviously don't. I am a great fan of seeing solar panels on roof tops as surely this makes use of unused space, you cant grow arable crops on roof tops!
[quote][p][bold]February1948[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Bill Poster[/bold] wrote: I wonder how many of the objectors have solar panels on THEIR roofs?[/p][/quote]I agree. And roofs bearing solar panels are an absolutely hideous eyesore. With regard to the proposed solar farm on the Drax Estate, at least these would be at ground level and, similar to those in other places might be invisible from the road, unlike those useless wind turbines cropping up all over the place for which we are paying a very heavy subsidy on our crippling electricity bills.[/p][/quote]I think people are missing the point here. Yes we do need renewable energy but loosing valuable farm land in a time when we need to INCREASE food production due to the growing population doesn't add up. In the next 40 years farmers have to produce as much food as has been produced since farming began in about 10,000BC. Yes sheep can graze around the solar panels BUT this land is good arable land, so why not put the panels on non arable land?? Solar farms take up a huge footprint of land compared to a wind turbine. Wind turbines will also be producing energy at night when its dark where as a solar panel obviously don't. I am a great fan of seeing solar panels on roof tops as surely this makes use of unused space, you cant grow arable crops on roof tops! MrSmith85
  • Score: 1

11:10pm Tue 22 Oct 13

rjimmer says...

MrSmith85 says... Yes we do need renewable energy but loosing valuable farm land in a time when we need to INCREASE food production due to the growing population doesn't add up. In the next 40 years farmers have to produce as much food as has been produced since farming began in about 10,000BC. @@@@@@ Go tell Dr Brian May that. Without chemicals our cereal yields per acre would be no more than they were in the Stone Age. It's only in the last 80 years that we have been doing better than the ancients were doing. Cutting down on breeding people is the only option.
MrSmith85 says... Yes we do need renewable energy but loosing valuable farm land in a time when we need to INCREASE food production due to the growing population doesn't add up. In the next 40 years farmers have to produce as much food as has been produced since farming began in about 10,000BC. @@@@@@ Go tell Dr Brian May that. Without chemicals our cereal yields per acre would be no more than they were in the Stone Age. It's only in the last 80 years that we have been doing better than the ancients were doing. Cutting down on breeding people is the only option. rjimmer
  • Score: 0

11:17pm Tue 22 Oct 13

rjimmer says...

MrSmith85 says...why not put the panels on non arable land?? @@@@@ Because non-arable land, it would have to face south and be on the side of a hill, would attract even moor complaints. What's the point of producing food for the ungrateful great British public? Been there, done that, got the tee-shirt. 174 acres out of the 27,500 acres on the Drax estate is nothing.
MrSmith85 says...why not put the panels on non arable land?? @@@@@ Because non-arable land, it would have to face south and be on the side of a hill, would attract even moor complaints. What's the point of producing food for the ungrateful great British public? Been there, done that, got the tee-shirt. 174 acres out of the 27,500 acres on the Drax estate is nothing. rjimmer
  • Score: 0

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