The statutory Stage 2 Consultation is due to end on August 4th. Given the scale of this proposal covers a 2,238 acre site, and also being classed as a National Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP), it is vitally important as much feedback as possible is given. It is unfortunate the response has to go to the developer themselves, but it also provides an opportunity to let the local authorities hear your feedback, and they have still to make their recommendations to the Planning Inspectorate.
After holding 6 public meetings ourselves, following the in-person Consultation events, it seems public opinion is still as much against the scheme as it was at Stage 1. It is still huge, and the physical solar area will be 4.5 times bigger than the current largest installed solar farm in the UK, Shotwick Park. The scale is unprecedented and it means the ability to mitigate such a scheme effectively is almost impossible. The issues and concerns are outlined in a leaflet we distributed to over 5000 properties, the details of which can be found on our website via the ‘Act Now’ button.
Some of the biggest concerns relate to loss of productive agricultural land, particularly as it is 53% BMV land. At a time of an emerging food crisis and escalating food prices, the UK has to become more self-sufficient and look to protect our long term food security. Solar is important in the renewable mix, but not at the expense of food production. It should be on rooftops and brownfield land. The other key concerns are the traffic and transport , and the huge impact to the visual character and recreational amenity of the area.
There is a tsunami of solar applications (LPA and NSIP) in the pipeline at the moment up and down the country. If we don’t send out a clear message now, it opens the door for the many applications on their way. A new one at Exton has just appeared, the Consultation is tomorrow in their village hall.
If you haven’t had the opportunity to respond yet, there is still time. Responses need to go to info@MallardPassSolar.co.uk, but please copy in all your district and county councillors too – full details available on our Contacts page on our website.