May 1, 2013

Inazin Appeal Tedburn St Mary Solar Farm Planning Decision. Again!

On November 26th 2012 Teignbridge District Council planning committee voted to refuse planning permission for Inazin Solar's application to construct a 13.5 Ha solar photovoltaic "farm" on land owned by the Fulford Estate near Gold's Cross Hill, between Tedburn St. Mary and Cheriton Bishop. I presume the fact that I objected to that application, at the second time of asking, explains why I have just received a letter from Teignbridge DC which says (amongst other things) that:

I write to inform you that Fulford Solar Park Ltd. has appealed to the Planning Inspectorate against the Council's decision. Any comments you made at application stage have been forwarded to the Planning Inspectorate. If you want to make any additional comments you must submit these direct to the Planning Inspectorate. Comments must be submitted by 30 May 2013.

Much like the first time around I do indeed want to make some additional comments. If you do too then you may wish to take a look at the latest entry on our interactive map and list of large scale solar PV projects in South West England, which includes links to both the Teignbridge and Planning Inspectorate paperwork concerning this most recent appeal.  Here's an extract from the "Grounds of Appeal" section of the appeal form:

The provision of energy from renewable sources is encouraged by national and local policies and it can be demonstrated that the development, the subject of this appeal will provide a valuable contribution towards meeting the targets of the District, which at present produces very little of its energy from renewable sources. It is considered that the benefits to be derived from the supply of renewable energy, which are becoming ever more important in the light of increasing uncertainty over the security of the UK's energy supply, outweigh any localised and limited harm to the AGLV.

Since the previous appeal so much new information has come to light that it's hard know where to start. Let's begin with climate change and food security shall we?  There's no mention of that topic in Fulford Solar Park Limited's paperwork so far, but presumably the "provision of energy from renewable sources is encouraged by national and local policies" because of a perceived need to "address climate change" in some way? As we reported very recently, the news on the climate change front certainly hasn't got any better since Inazin's first appeal. High level meetings of the world's best scientists have been arranged by the Met Office here in the UK and at The White House in the US to try and answer what the chief scientist at the Met Office describes as "a really urgent question".

Earlier this year I discussed with a variety of interested parties the topic of "Food Production Fears Over Devon Solar Farms". The conclusion from perspectives varying from renewable energy developers to Friends of the Earth to the National Farmer's Union was that "planning applications should only be submitted for low yield agricultural land."

All of which begs the obvious question which seems to me to be this: "Why on Earth are Inazin trying for the fourth time to get permission to build a solar park on agricultural land that is demonstrably more than capable of growing plenty of food for human consumption"

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