Fears that Wiltshire’s landscape will be ruined and ultimately turned into semi-industrial use with a growing number of solar farm developments have sparked criticism of Wiltshire Council.

CPRE Wiltshire chairman Anne Henshaw said: “Solar farm applications are dealt with on an ad hoc basis and there is no clear approach to spatial distribution of Wiltshire’s target renewable energy capacity.

“There is an accumulation impact on landscape character, visual amenity, and especially the effect of local concentration of multiple arrays.

"Now, in addition, these sites are adding battery storage facilities, which means these are increasingly industrial use sites.

“With need for de-carbonising, land is vital for fresh food delivery and local produce as well as tree planting and wildlife. There is no clear strategy.”

Solar farms are springing up on agricultural land across the county. More than 150,000 panels have been installed on half the old RAF Wroughton site near Swindon, taking up 170 acres.

Another 200 acre development near Chippenham, proposed by Wiltshire-based Eden Renewables, could be up and running by 2022 if their plans are approved by Wiltshire Council.

Villagers in Minety have criticised plans for a massive solar farm on a 271 acre site with 166,000 panels.

Minety Solar Farm Action Group say the county has already made a major contribution to creating renewable energy and that four other planning applications around the substation have already been approved.

Patrick Crawford from Oaksey said: “People were shocked when we told them about it, they either had no idea it was happening or realised how big it will be.

"The environmental impact would be huge.”

A climate change emergency was declared by Wiltshire Council in February 2019. In July 2019, the Council pledged to make the county of Wiltshire carbon neutral by 2030

Wiltshire Council was unavailable for comment.