Sitlington solar farm: Plans revealed to put solar panels across 133 acres of Yorkshire countryside
More than 130 people have so far objected to the scheme since it was sent to Wakefield Council earlier this month. Boom Power wants to build the solar farm on land at Overton, Middlestown, New Hall and Grange Moor, near Wakefield.
The Save the Sitlington Countryside group was formed by residents when the project was revealed last year. Opponents claim it will turn one of the most picturesque areas of the city into an “industrial landscape”. The group has organised an open day to meet with people concerned about the project.
Boom Power has already been granted permission by Kirklees Council to build a solar farm nearby on 210 acres of land at Flockton. A third application to access the National Grid on land near to Horbury Bridge has also been approved. Wakefield Council called for full environmental impact assessment to be carried out before the latest application was submitted.
The local authority said it has concerns over the potential impact on wildlife habitats in ancient woodland which covers part of the site. Part of the site is also a designated special area of conservation.
A planning statement submitted on behalf of the company says: “The proposal would provide a clean, renewable and sustainable form of electricity and will also make a valuable contribution to the generation of electricity at a local level.
“The scheme would contribute to the region’s progress in meeting its renewable energy target and would also assist in meeting national targets for both energy supply and low carbon energy development.”
An objection on the council’s planning portal says: “We should not be sanctioning the use of greenbelt for solar farms when there are plenty of alternative industrial, commercial, brownfield sites available.
“We should not be destroying prime farming land, when recent experience (from the war in Ukraine) suggests that it would be prudent for us to develop a food production strategy, based on self sufficiency.”
Sixteen people have so far written in support of the solar farm.
One resident in favour said: “We need more solar power generation to help meet our power needs over the coming decades.”
A spokesperson for Save Sitlington group previously said: “This is productive farmland that needs to be protected in line with national and local policies in order to support the demand for food produced in the UK and not imported from abroad. This beautiful area of countryside is used on a daily basis by hundreds of walkers, ramblers, horse riders, dog walkers, cyclists and a range of community groups and visitors to the area.
“Bridleways and paths cross the area with wide open views of Wakefield and surrounding areas. A solar farm on this scale would turn it into an industrial landscape overnight and destroy the very heart of our community.
The deadline for comments to the council is November 9. An open day for residents will be held at at Denby Grange Cricket Club on Saturday, October 28, from 10am to 4pm.