Cornwall Council consider plans for two large solar parks
PLANS for two solar farms the size of 29 football pitches are being considered by Cornwall Council.
Proposals for an 8MW Mount Hawke site were due to be considered by the council today, while different developers are looking at a separate site in Edgcumbe, near Stithians.
If approved, the combined output from both solar farms would generate enough energy to supply more than 2,500 homes in Cornwall.
Although community benefits are proposed, residents in both areas have raised concerns about how the solar farms will change the landscapes.
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Neighbours of the proposed Mount Hawke site are fearful of noise levels, increased congestion and the impact the farm will have on the St Agnes Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).
In a letter on the council's planning website, Nick and Lindsay Richards, from Mount Hawke, wrote: "We have been advised by two local estate agents that our property would drop at least 20 per cent in value, if they could sell it at all with such a large solar farm so close by. We are the only actual neighbours living at Gover Farm in such close proximity to the development, no less than three metres from our home, so we do have concerns for our future and children's future."
In comparison to other forms of renewable energy, solar panels produce no emissions and require little maintenance.
Councillor Joyce Duffin, for Mount Hawke and Portreath, said: "Cornwall Council is keen to be at the forefront of renewable energy technologies with the Green Cornwall agenda.
"But, of course, this always needs to be balanced with the impact on the landscape and the nearest neighbours.
"I am pleased to say that a community benefit has been provided by the energy company.
"Presently there are discussions to put solar panels on local community buildings, which will mean a reduction in energy bills."
The Stithians site proposal, which would sit near to the newly completed Little Trevease solar farm if approved, was rejected by more than 90 per cent of residents who voted at the initial consultation meeting on August 15.
Carol Sankey, who lives near the Little Trevease solar farm and the plot for the planned new solar farm in Stithians, said: "From a personal point of view our hearts sink every day as we open the curtains.
"Either we are faced with a grim, grey eyesore or in the morning on a sunny day an immense glare which prevents us from looking in that direction at all."
Despite not having any set targets for renewable energy generation, the council does encourage the responsible development of renewable energy in the county.
It said: "Government planning guidance states that local planning authorities should have a positive strategy to promote energy from renewable and low carbon sources and that they should design their planning policies to maximise renewable and low carbon energy development while ensuring that adverse impacts are addressed satisfactorily, including cumulative landscape and visual impacts."