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26th Jun, 2022

Local anger at plan to turn open land over for solar farm project

Ross Crawford 24th Mar, 2022 Updated: 5th May, 2022

OPPOSITION is growing to proposals to site a 250 acre solar farm near Inkberrow.

The company behind the scheme, JBM Solar, says that if approved the project would provide green energy to power 18,000 homes and displace 1,200,000 tonnes of CO2 from equivalent fossil fuel energy.

However locals say the move is like a ‘Wild West land grab’ destroying the views in prime ‘Archers’ country and taking farming land out of food production.

They also say that in comparison with off-shore wind power solar farms are hugely inefficient.

The site in question is at Roundhill Farm, off Earls Common Road near Stock Green, with a sub station just off the Saltway south west of Redditch.

“We’re all hopefully committed to us being carbon neutral by 2050 but we believe this is the wrong way to be going about it,” said Inkberrow resident Phil Coathup.

“You can’t blame the farmers, they are being offered a guaranteed income, but solar farms like this one are massively inefficient and it will be sited in a beautiful part of Archers countryside.”

His views were backed by Inkberrow’s Wychavon District Councillor Audrey Steel, who said: “I’m against solar farms like these whatever.

“We need the land to grow food on because this country will be short of food in the next few years and relying on imports so we need to grow more.”

However Conor McAllister of JBM Solar said the scheme was still in its early stages.

“It is our intention to hold a drop-in community consultation event which will allow us to obtain feedback from local residents, parish councils, businesses, ward members and other interested parties,” he said.

“We are already engaged with some locals and parish councils and have already made design tweaks / setback panels following feedback received.

“This includes relocation of the substation to the centre of the site as far away from dwellings as possible.

“The proposed site is not the best or most versatile land, it consists entirely of Grade 3b land which is considered ‘moderate quality’ under Agricultural Land Classification Grades.

“We hope to gain the support of the local community throughout the consultation process and to bring forward the best version of the scheme possible.”

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