British solar farm plans refused at highest rate in five years

Analysis from planning and development consultancy, Turley, has found that planning permission for 23 solar farms was refused across England, Wales and Scotland between January 2021 and July 2022. The projects were estimated to have cut annual electricity bills by £100m and produce enough renewable energy to power 147,000 homes annually. The research also found that refusals have jumped significantly since the start of 2021 with only four projects refused planning permission during 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020 combined.

Recent comments from Tory leadership contenders have fuelled fears of a further increase in refusals. However, analysts at the thinktank, Green Alliance, have highlighted that the rejected projects were large solar farms of about 30MW each. This may account for the planning refusals, as approval for smaller farms are easier to obtain.

Dustin Benton, the policy director at Green Alliance, said: “We should be building as much cheap, clean energy as we can to reduce people’s energy bills and cut our reliance on Russian gas. This additional solar power generation, if it displaced gas, would have saved over £100m per year in wholesale energy costs.”

“By integrating solar panels into fields, even farmers on high-grade land can continue to grow crops at the same time as enjoying the steady income from solar panels.”

Adapted from an article in The Guardian