The Solar Trade Association will be writing to environment secretary Liz Truss following her announcement that farmland should be used for ‘food and crops’ and not solar farms.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has announced that farmers will no longer be allowed to claim agricultural subsidies for land dedicated to solar. According to the STA, Defra has failed to consider how solar and farming can actually go hand in hand.
Commenting on the announcement, Leonie Greene, head of external affairs at the Solar Trade Association, said: “It is damaging and incorrect for Defra to suggest that solar farms are in conflict with food production. The government’s own planning guidance makes clear that farming practices should continue on solar farms on greenfield land. The industry, working with the National Farmers Union, has been very careful to define good practice to ensure continued agricultural production. Indeed detailed guidance on this is being discussed by the All Party Group for Beef and Lamb in the House of Commons.
“The land is still available for farming – the solar fixings only take up 5 percent of the land. This means plenty of room for continued agricultural practices such as sheep, geese or chicken farming. As far as farm payments are concerned, solar should really be treated in the same way as orchards or fields with trees, where animals continue to graze the land in between.”