Rural campaigners say the push to generate green energy through giant solar farms is having an unacceptable impact on Britain’s rural landscape.
Developments like Burntstalks Solar Farm in Norfolk, which has nearly 50,000 photovoltaic panels and captures enough of the sun’s rays to power nearly 4,000 homes, are heralded as a sensible solution to the UK’s energy needs.
However, some claim the sites are yet another blot on the landscape and are ruining the countryside.
David Hook, from the Campaign to Protect Rural England, told Sky News: “I think that if policy is not changed … the industrialisation through solar farms and extra wind turbines is going to have a dramatic effect on the countryside, and a very negative effect.”
It is only two years since the UK’s first large scale sun park began generating electricity in Lincolnshire.
There are now nearly 160, mostly in rural areas, with a further 229 under construction or awaiting approval.
Lightsource Renewable Energy owns and operates dozens of solar farms, including Burntstalks, near King’s Lynn.
Mark Turner, the company’s operations director, said: “The balance we have to strike is between a solar farm that can generally only be seen by people very close up to it and usually by fleeting glimpses through hedgerows as you are driving along, versus potential wind farms or the other alternatives of non-renewables including nuclear power stations and coal-fired power stations.
Countryside Fears Over Solar Energy Growth