Copy of Letter responding the Mallard Pass Solar Farm
Mallard Pass Solar Farm
Recent community consultation events were held at Ryhall (23rd November), Stamford (24th November) and Essendine (25th November).
Following these meetings it was evident that a considerable amount of anger, concern, worry and frustration had been generated in the local communities. This was in no means exclusive to Ryhall and many other local communities had already been informed of the proposals and were soon seeking thoughts from our residents.
An extra-ordinary meeting was called by the Parish Council of Ryhall and Belmesthorpe to collect the thoughts of the residents in order to deliver a widely considered response.
Overview/size of the project
It is accepted that a more green and renewable source of energy is required for the future of the planet. It is also accepted that solar panels are not the only means to reach out and achieve that future.
The Stage one consultation documents refers to a corridor of land either side of the east coast mainline. Under no circumstances can a corridor of land on any major construction site (motorways, HS1, HS2 and airport enlargements) extend to between 2 and 3 km away from its central route. A distance this proposed development extends to at certain points.
From the consultation meetings and documentation it is clear this will be the largest of its kind in Europe. And in part engulfs a section of Rutland, smallest County in England, and as a whole would cover over 70% of Rutland Water and is larger than Stamford (Lincolnshire). With a construction of this enormity the loss of diversity will be enormous and intrusive for the whole area.
With the recent COP summit and its impact very much in peoples mind! The intention of any green source of energy should be paramount, to reduce the carbon footprint we are creating on the planet. Surely part of this is to maintain and encourage each country to become self-sufficient not only through the food we produce for our people but also in reducing the need to import products. From discussion with your representatives at the community consultation it is clear that the production of the panels and the support structure of the proposed development are to be produced in China and transported across the world before being locally shipped to the site. This site cannot proceed on this point.
There are many ways this can be achieved, firstly and importantly the use of Brownfield sites, industrial roofs and in many places house roofs so that useful farm land can be used to support our population. Secondly, construction of these structures should be locally sourced (maintaining the workforce of this country) and reducing significantly the carbon footprint of transportation. While the change Brexit has brought to farmers subsidies this does not mean that perfectly useable land cannot still deliver the products that are required.
The Community Consultation events also revealed that construction is likely to run to 2 years which will have a significant impact on the surrounding minor roads and access to the countryside. Wendel Energy have already confirmed they have no experience of this type of construction and have merely focused on an access point of the substation. During the installation of the substation, the local roads were left in an appalling state with tarmac edges badly broken and verges severely damaged. It has been made clear that some additional planting will be undertaken by erection of some hedgerows. Planning should not be granted using Section 106 legal agreements just to go adding a few hedgerows and some trees. As the landowners will be offered a 40 year lease which links to the life of the solar farm, how is this tied into the through life plan and disposal of the panels and its impact on the environment?
This area is full of all the natural beauty that is expected of a rural environment, deer, otters, wide variety of birds, insects and flora. With this proposed construction the majority will vanish. It will be an act of vandalism on the green belt. A huge loss of agricultural land, pollinating insects and environment habitat have not been considered. Biodiversity is essential and will be severely compromised even with the inclusion of some hedgerows and a few trees. A full study and environmental assessments need to be undertaken not the short (6 month) period of time highlighted in the consultation document.
It appears that there are only 5 landowners involved in this area and they are being encouraged by government to preserve and enhance the environment; how can this be met with the proposed development. They need to take a wider view on the impact this will have on not just their livelihood but on the communities in which they reside and serve, irrespective of subsidies received from the lease.
While it has been stated that green lanes, public footpaths and bridleways will remain, they are likely to be realigned for more convenience to this type of development.
As a race we are still reeling from the enormous impact Covid has had on our lives. The Country has struggled with not just feeding itself but in maintaining our health both physical and mental. Many have turned to the great outdoors this country has to offer. And for many this has been the ability to step out of their door go for a walk in the countryside. People access these areas not just to go for a walk but for reflection, discovery and importantly well-being. The arrival of a sea of dull greyness is detrimental and dispiriting.
The benefit a development such as this in a green rural setting, with farmland and a significant amount of wildlife and nature, does not exist!
The comments contained within this document have been collated from the residents of Ryhall, Belmesthorpe and surrounding villages who came to voice their thoughts at the extra ordinary meeting called in Ryhall.
The overwhelming public feeling was that they were strongly opposed to the Mallard Pass Solar Farm.
Chairman Ryhall and Belmesthorpe Parish Council