Fears over ‘industrialisation’ of countryside as 2,000 acres allocated to wind farm and solar panel schemes
The “industrialisation” of the countryside had seen around 2,000 acres of Dorset allocated to solar panel schemes or windfarms says the CPRE.
Members of the Dorset Campaign to Protect Rural England heard from regional committee representative Richard Nicholls that many more applications were proposed, helped by taxpayer subsidy.
Its report, based on official figures, showed Dorset had almost reached its target for renewable energy production. CPRE claims that existing and agreed applications mean the county is already at 97 per cent of the government figure with some districts exceeding the target.
However, guest speaker at the annual meeting, Dorset County Council environment and economy director Mike Harries, said his department’s estimate was between 35 and 55 per cent, depending on how the calculation was approached.
He said that more than 80 per cent of Dorset was protected by one or more designation, such as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty or Site of Special Scientific Interest, which made development unlikely.
In his speech Mr Nicholls said: “We are not against wind turbines, and there may be cases where farmers need them, but if they are large turbines in inappropriate areas they are likely to be unacceptable.
“We should also remember that we need land for food and that this country, for many years, has been a net importer of many of our vital foods.”
He said there was widespread concern over what many viewed as the industrialisation of the countryside.
“If we build on too much agricultural land it will be at the cost of our landscape and food production,” he said.
Chairman Dick Heaslip from West Parley spoke of the support given to groups opposing developments including the large solar panel installation on the Drax family estate at Mapperton, and of many positive projects during the year.
The organisation would continue to fight for what he described as “our magical landscape” but said with the continuing flood of planning applications it would be “a perpetual compromise”.
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