Luxulyan campaigner : 'Let us decide on solar energy'
A CAMPAIGNER has called on the Prime Minister for local people to have more say on the location of proposed solar farms.
Roger Smith's letter to David Cameron comes as his community prepares to fight fresh plans from `Elgin Energy for a 14-hectare solar farm near Luxulyan.
The company proposes to build the 5MW solar farm on land close to the hamlet of Bodwen – a reduction in size from earlier plans for a 20-hectare solar park.
Elgin said the site lies within an Area of Great Historic Value (AGHV) but doesn't fall within an Area of Great Landscape Value or an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
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However, Mr Smith, from the protest group Luxulyan Against Needless Development (LAND), said: "Luxulyan is suffering from the cumulative impact of over development of solar schemes on viable farmland to the detriment of the local landscape.
"The negative visual impact of two large schemes, at Trenoweth and Tredinnick, together about 42 acres in extent, have appalled local people.
"Public opinion, canvassed by LAND outside two public exhibitions in the village hall by Elgin Energy for another of its schemes, at Bodiggo, demonstrated an overwhelming view that no more solar farms should be allowed in the parish."
He continued: "The cumulative industrialisation of this small area that would result from the Bodwen plan would seriously impinge on people's perception of the landscape character and its amenity value."
He also recently wrote to Mr Cameron calling for a rethink on the Government's current energy policy.
"Climate change is serious and real. Compromise is inevitable. However, an intelligent approach to green energy would have allowed communities to have a major say in selecting methods and locations," he wrote.
"Unfortunately, the opposite has been the case. The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government said: 'Meeting our energy goals should not be used to justify the wrong development in the wrong location'."
"This is as true of solar parks on farmland as it is of wind turbines. Please heed Sheryll Murray's [South East Cornwall MP] words: "Act on behalf of a county you love but, most of all, act to allow local people to shape the places in which they live."
In its application to Cornwall Council, Elgin said that the solar farm will cause "no significant harm" to the environment.
"The development proposed seeks the construction of a 5MW photovoltaic solar park with its attendant infrastructure. The development will cause no significant harm in respect of any matter of acknowledged planning importance and is supported through national guidance and specific local policies, together with a draft supplementary planning document.
"There are positive opportunities to strengthen landscaping on the site, for example the retention of existing hedgerows (managed to a greater height than currently) native understorey to field margins, landscape buffer planting with mixed deciduous tree planting and new native hedgerows with deciduous tree-related components."