Parties divided over solar wind farms

The government is divided over the future necessity and benefits of solar wind farms, as revealed in Kier Starmer’s recent keynote speech and new PM, Liz Truss’, comments on the alternative energy source.

Parties are divided over the future and benefits of solar wind farms.

As a result, Solar Energy UK and environmental agencies have asked prime minister, Liz Truss, to support solar farms and back the UK solar industry.

The announcement comes just days after the industry praised Keir Starmer following his keynote speech to the Labour Party conference in which he backed solar farms as a key part of boosting the rural economy and contributing to “cheaper bills and higher living standards.”

In the open letter to the prime minister, Solar Energy and eighteen other organisations have highlighted how solar farms are a crucial part of the solution to energy and the cost of living crisis.

Parties are divided over the future and benefits of solar wind farms.

‘Threat to food supplies’

The letter addresses comments made by the prime minister in the summer that stated that solar farms and “paraphernalia” and claims that they are a threat to food supplies.

In contrast, Kier Starmer’s keynote speech outlined the number of benefits of solar power:

“Clean energy is already cheaper than fossil fuels. Nine times cheaper. We just need more of it.”

“It will mean new jobs – more than a million new jobs, training for plumbers, electricians, engineers, software designers, technicians, builders. And it will all start within the first 100 days of a new Labour government,” he told the conference. 

The letter addressed PM Liz Truss:

‘British solar power and agriculture have gone hand in hand since the beginning of the UK solar industry, the organisations write. 

Farmers benefit from both rooftop installations and ground-mounted solar farm projects, says the letter, noting that the solar industry works closely with farmers and landowners on their solar projects. 

Defending global food supply

There are many benefits to solar farms, which help defend the UK and global food supply by addressing climate change. According to Defra, the government’s department for food and rural affairs, this constitutes the greatest threat to domestic food security.

Solar farms can provide an additional income stream for farmers, keeping their businesses profitable despite the cost-of-living crisis, while also delivering significant local environmental benefits.

Parties are divided over the future and benefits of solar wind farms.

Well-designed and well-maintained solar farms have been shown to support thriving wildlife habitats, providing a range of biodiversity gains for the duration of their lifespan. Sheep are commonly grazed around the panels, too. 

The solar industry has developed guidance to support the responsible development of solar projects. This includes Solar Energy UK’s Natural Capital Best Practice report, developed in collaboration with the National Farmers’ Union, ecological consultants and the higher education sector. It has been endorsed by Natural England, the government’s advisor for the natural environment in England.’

Cost-of-living crisis

Solar Energy UK has published a land use briefing detailing the benefits of solar farms to the UK’s agricultural sector.

Solar Energy UK chief executive Chris Hewett said: “The solar industry is a natural partner for countryside management, and I would be delighted to accompany the prime minister on a visit to one of the UK’s many excellent solar farms. She can see for herself how their affordable, clean electricity will help to power the UK out of the cost-of-living crisis.”