Villagers have been left reeling by plans to build one of Europe’s largest solar farms in rural Nottinghamshire.
Residents and farmers in Newark are furious at the proposal for a 7,000-acre solar park on productive agricultural land.
Parish councillors say they are ‘shell-shocked’ by the proposal, claiming the ‘monstrous’ project will put food security at risk and ruin the rural landscape.
The Great North Road solar park (GNR) proposal, which is in its very early stages, is from solar and energy storage developer Elements Green. It is believed it would be one of the largest solar parks in Europe.
Local Tory MP and former minister Robert Jenrick said the plan could impact ‘generations to come’. In a letter to constituents seen by The Mail he vowed: ‘Unless the proposals are radically changed, I will be doing everything I can to oppose this application.’
Elements Green said it has had very positive early engagement with residents and farmers and argued the idea that solar farms are a threat to food security was a ‘myth’. It insisted the farm will help produce wetlands and generate local jobs.
The scheme is aimed at generating around one gigawatt of solar energy, which would be enough to power approximately 400,000 homes.
But 78-year-old Mike Pickering worries his house would be almost encircled by 200 acres of solar panels, based on the initial maps released by the firm.
‘It is making us feel quite insecure as pensioners,’ he said. But Elements Green said this was unlikely as maps were drawn out to ensure no properties would be significantly obstructed by panels. Nigel Catt, of North Muskham, runs a glamping site and worries solar panels will put off visitors.
He said: ‘If views are obstructed by panels, people won’t want to come to this area. That is going to be a big, big issue for us if it goes ahead.’