Conservative West Lindsey District Councillor for the Nettleham Ward, Cllr. Giles McNeill, has welcomed two decisions by the Planning Inspectorate, who have agreed with the Council’s Planning Committee, and confirmed the refusal of solar farms at Burton by Lincoln.
Planning Inspector Mr. Philip Major dismissed two appeals by RGE Energy Ltd. and Green Hedge Group, formerly AEE Renewables. The two proposals, which would have generated 40 megawatts of energy and covered an area of approximately 200 acres with solar panels – making it one of the largest solar farms in the UK – located in close proximity to historic views of Lincoln Cathedral.
Mr. Major ruled that at ‘an extensive area’ of solar panels on platforms rising to two metres high would be a blot on the landscape, adding that planning guidance advises that where it is necessary to use agricultural land, poorer quality land should be used in preference to higher quality. He stated:
“I am not satisfied that it has been shown to be necessary to use this area of best and most versatile agricultural land.
“It is my judgement that, in a finely balanced case, the benefits of the proposal are insufficient, in this instance, to outweigh the landscape harm and use of BMV land even allowing for the fact that the development could be reversed in due course.
“This harm would be further exacerbated if the land to the north were to be developed as a solar farm.”
Cllr. McNeill said:
“I am very pleased that the Planning Inspector has agreed with the comprehensive reasons for refusal we put forward on West Lindsey’s Planning Committee, having listened to the local residents.
Blighting important historic views of Lincoln Cathedral and utilising high quality agricultural land mad no sence to us; so we overturned the officer recommendation.”