MP James Gray hits out over solar farm plans on greenfield sites in Wiltshire

MP James Gray

MP James Gray

First published in News

North Wiltshire MP James Gray has made a stand in Parliament against plans for solar farms on greenfield sites.

During today’s questions to Matthew Hancock,  Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change,  Mr Gray said that his constituents are “besieged” by planning applications for solar farms on greenfield land, and that any such projects should be constructed on brownfield sites and the roofs of buildings.

He said, “The people of north and west Wiltshire strongly support renewable energy, but we are besieged by hundreds of planning applications from London-based commercial operations for solar farms, not on roofs of factories or brownfield sites, but on greenfield sites across the county.”

He called for “a strong presumption against the use of agricultural land and a strong presumption in favour of industrial roofs and other places".

In response Mr Hancock said: “There is no point in destroying our green and pleasant land in order to save the global environment. We have to tackle security of supply and climate change in a way that also protects the local environment.”

Comments (9)

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6:51pm Thu 4 Sep 14

melkshamwizard says...

Good to see an mp standing up against the solar farms on green fields.he has a very good point in that the people building them live in London.it doesn't affect them all they see is a bigger bank balance.he has said what I did months ago on this item .put them on roofs of new houses and factory roofs
Good to see an mp standing up against the solar farms on green fields.he has a very good point in that the people building them live in London.it doesn't affect them all they see is a bigger bank balance.he has said what I did months ago on this item .put them on roofs of new houses and factory roofs melkshamwizard
  • Score: -12

8:11pm Thu 4 Sep 14

Room101 says...

melkshamwizard wrote:
Good to see an mp standing up against the solar farms on green fields.he has a very good point in that the people building them live in London.it doesn't affect them all they see is a bigger bank balance.he has said what I did months ago on this item .put them on roofs of new houses and factory roofs
Are these people in London the same people building all these houses on green fields in Wiltshire. He's only saying this as elections next year.
[quote][p][bold]melkshamwizard[/bold] wrote: Good to see an mp standing up against the solar farms on green fields.he has a very good point in that the people building them live in London.it doesn't affect them all they see is a bigger bank balance.he has said what I did months ago on this item .put them on roofs of new houses and factory roofs[/p][/quote]Are these people in London the same people building all these houses on green fields in Wiltshire. He's only saying this as elections next year. Room101
  • Score: 7

8:17pm Thu 4 Sep 14

WiltshireGlory says...

Hooray! Well done James Gray MP. At last an MP standing up for this area. The commercial solar farm applications have got so out of hand and the MPS and Wiltshire Councillors need to make a stand to get renewables built on the best sites.
Hooray! Well done James Gray MP. At last an MP standing up for this area. The commercial solar farm applications have got so out of hand and the MPS and Wiltshire Councillors need to make a stand to get renewables built on the best sites. WiltshireGlory
  • Score: -13

10:33pm Thu 4 Sep 14

chippenhamgedd says...

If the farmers wish to lease there land / sell it or just give it up for solar power then so be it. It's there land to do what they want.

Have any of you realised, that you can take the panels away again and they certainly don't damage the fields.
If the farmers wish to lease there land / sell it or just give it up for solar power then so be it. It's there land to do what they want. Have any of you realised, that you can take the panels away again and they certainly don't damage the fields. chippenhamgedd
  • Score: 10

9:14am Fri 5 Sep 14

sustainablewiltshire says...

The view from Mr Gray is far too simplistic. Solar can be sited on lower grade farm land as well as the other areas he suggested without harming the landscape and brings the benefits of increased biodiversity as well as financial community benefits with community schemes. I agree with the comment that farmers can choose how to use their land, they want to keep farming as well and often need the support solar can bring.
The view from Mr Gray is far too simplistic. Solar can be sited on lower grade farm land as well as the other areas he suggested without harming the landscape and brings the benefits of increased biodiversity as well as financial community benefits with community schemes. I agree with the comment that farmers can choose how to use their land, they want to keep farming as well and often need the support solar can bring. sustainablewiltshire
  • Score: 7

9:30am Fri 5 Sep 14

Dr H Z Hackenbush says...

If farmers can make money by using renewable energy then its up to them..... Its their land is it not?

This NIMBY politician who's also an alleged racist, fraudster (expenses) and home wrecker should go back to Scotland and stop harassing the enterprising farmers and landowners of Wiltshire!
If farmers can make money by using renewable energy then its up to them..... Its their land is it not? This NIMBY politician who's also an alleged racist, fraudster (expenses) and home wrecker should go back to Scotland and stop harassing the enterprising farmers and landowners of Wiltshire! Dr H Z Hackenbush
  • Score: 9

7:01pm Fri 5 Sep 14

Localactivist says...

And I suppose his comments had nothing to do with the fact that a solar farm application very close to his house was going to be discussed at a planning committee this week…. just another NIMBY
And I suppose his comments had nothing to do with the fact that a solar farm application very close to his house was going to be discussed at a planning committee this week…. just another NIMBY Localactivist
  • Score: 5

8:11pm Fri 5 Sep 14

Localactivist says...

Very selective reporting from the G&H:. Another publications says:

Hancock also appeared to be broadly positive about well-sited solar farms, the subject of much politicisation due to the large number of schemes being installed under the soon-to-be-scrapped renewable obligation scheme. Responding to concerns voiced by James Gray, conservative MP North Wiltshire, that his constituents were being “besieged by hundreds of planning applications from London-based commercial operations”, Hancock said that there were “opportunities for solar, where appropriately sited, in many different places – on roofs on land".
Hancock continued: “In fact, land can be combined with agricultural use and solar. One other advantage of solar is that it can effectively be masked from being seen from elsewhere because it is low-rise rather than high-rise."
Very selective reporting from the G&H:. Another publications says: Hancock also appeared to be broadly positive about well-sited solar farms, the subject of much politicisation due to the large number of schemes being installed under the soon-to-be-scrapped renewable obligation scheme. Responding to concerns voiced by James Gray, conservative MP North Wiltshire, that his constituents were being “besieged by hundreds of planning applications from London-based commercial operations”, Hancock said that there were “opportunities for solar, where appropriately sited, in many different places – on roofs on land". Hancock continued: “In fact, land can be combined with agricultural use and solar. One other advantage of solar is that it can effectively be masked from being seen from elsewhere because it is low-rise rather than high-rise." Localactivist
  • Score: 0

11:28am Mon 8 Sep 14

Harry_Collier says...

If James Gray is against it: I'm for it. The man is a nincompoop.
If James Gray is against it: I'm for it. The man is a nincompoop. Harry_Collier
  • Score: 2

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