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What support is there for wind and solar power in Devon?

  • by JW

“Over 50% of the UK public support the development of large-scale solar projects in their local area.”

“Here in Devon, as elsewhere, a rash of huge solar farm applications is raining down on Local Planning Authorities.”


There is clear support for onshore wind farms:

Poll shows majority of people in UK want planning system reformed to enable more onshore wind farms – RenewableUK

Including in Devon:

Tory voters favour wind of change for onshore turbines, poll shows | Business | The Times

The same appears to be the case with solar farms:

Majority of UK public back PV in local area

Over 50% of the UK public support the development of large-scale solar projects in their local area, compared with 25% in opposition, according to a new report. The report ‘2022: A Bright Future for Solar, Realising the UK’s Potential’ by Solar Energy UK and Copper Consultancy found 56% of respondents backed solar projects.

Public support for local solar farms is also shown to increase over time, more than one in six people surveyed have become more supportive, the survey found.

‘Majority of UK public back PV in local area’ – reNews – Renewable Energy News

Over half of the public support the development of large-scale solar projects in their areas | Solar Power Portal

However, it’s not clear how much support there is in Devon.

The Campaign to Protect Rural England is not happy about ‘large-scale projects’:

We are in a major fight. With the growing number (and size) of solar farms encroaching on our landscape and productive farmland, we have taken on a hydra. Here in Devon, as elsewhere, a rash of huge solar farm applications is raining down on Local Planning Authorities.

Solar Farms currently in planning are:
East Devon:
Land at Beavor Grange Farm, Axminster- reference 21/2992/MFUL – 69 acres.
Land adjacent to Peradon Farm, Clyst Hydon. Reference 21/3120/MFUL – 174 acres.

Grass not Glass | Devon Planning Applications | CPRE Devon

The front page of this morning’s Western Morning News features an interview with Penny Mills, Devon director of CPRE, saying farmland should be retained for producing food – and that nuclear rather than solar should be invested in:

Hands off farmland’ in the race for new energy, say countryside campaigners.

“There’s talk of tripling the number of solar panels on our fields and doubling the number of wind turbines,” she warns. “We already have more than enough blots and ‘stains’ on our landscape and don’t want any more wind turbines or solar farms in Devon.”

Penny Mills said a sensible, strategic energy policy would not squander prime farmland by covering it wilth solar panels and turbines. “People have been conditioned to be uneasy about the use of nuclear power and so it’s been bypassed. After 40 years of backsliding, the Government has come to the realisation that nuclear power can produce the large volumes of reliable energy we need, without sinking back into a Victorian level of energy supply (with the health and living standards to match).

Western Morning News –

This is indeed controversial – especially in rural parts.

Last year’s decision by the Torridge District Council for such a project in Pyworthy, near Holsworthy, was a narrow one:

Close vote permits 164-acre solar farm in Devon – BBC News

And yet last year, North Devon District Councillors voted unanimously to approve the Litchardon Cross Solar Farm

Plans approved for Devon’s largest solar farm – Business Live

An alternative or even parallel development would be ‘solar farms on roofs’, as reported by Devon County Council last month:

More than 500 Devon homeowners have taken a huge step in reducing their carbon footprint and fuel bills after installing solar panels as part of Devon Climate Emergency’s (DCE) group-buying scheme.

The scheme, Devon Solar Together, which has now concluded, invited homeowners across the county to ‘club’ together to enable them to buy high-quality solar panels at a lower price than they would have otherwise been able to obtain.  Now in total almost 7,000 panels have been installed across the 535 homes with a total installed capacity of 2065kW – equivalent to a small solar farm

Research by the University of Exeter shows that a fifth of all Devon’s carbon emissions are created by our homes, with more than half of those by grid-supplied electricity.  Installing solar panels will reduce the amount of grid-supplied electricity needed for things like hot water.

Energy from homeowner’s solar project ‘equivalent to a small solar farm’ – News

Here’s more on the debate over solar:

Solar farm for Clyst Hydon? – Vision Group for Sidmouth

Are solar farms good for nature? – Vision Group for Sidmouth

Addressing concerns about solar farms – Vision Group for Sidmouth

The promise of solar panels – Vision Group for Sidmouth

And wind:

Bladeless wind turbines – Vision Group for Sidmouth

“Building back greener with clean wind energy” – Vision Group for Sidmouth

The questions around wind energy – Vision Group for Sidmouth

Wind power in East Devon – Vision Group for Sidmouth