Renewable Energy Triumphs in Lancashire as Solar Farm is Approved Next to Rejected Fracking Site

Anti-Fracking campaigners have welcomed a local council’s decision to approve the development of a solar farm just across the road from where Cuadrilla has spent years trying to get permission to carry out hydrolic fracturing.

The solar farm is expected to produce enough electricity to power around 1,300 homes and save approximately 2,310 tonnes of carbon emissions every year, the equivalent of taking 513 large family cars off the road.

Fylde Council unanimously approved the application for the Staining Wood solar farm subject to the completion of a habitat regulation assessment, which it looks likely to pass. The site is expected to be operational by March 2016

Site Plans

Members of Residents Action on Fylde Fracking (RAFF) who visited the site prior to the planning meeting were impressed with the plans for the site.

LightSource, the company that intends to develop the solar farm, intends to give the land area dual-use allowing sheep to graze on the solar farm, as well as creating ‘enhanced habitat corridors’ and plant new trees that hope to increase biodiversity.

Commenting on the council's decision, a spokesperson for RAFF said: “RAFF has consistently promoted green energy as an alternative to developing shale gas in Lancashire.  As well as providing green energy, the plans for this site will enhance the biodiversity of our area, unlike those of Cuadrilla, which are set to destroy natural habitats, pose a threat to public health, destroy our agricultural and tourism industries, and contribute to global warming.”

Popular Support

The council said that it has seen an increase in these types of applications over the last year and they are proving to be popular with local residents.

Matthew Taylor, the Fylde council’s Senior Development Officer, said: “We are finding that across the borough people are more supportive of this type of renewable energy generation.”

He explained how the area was well suited for solar farms given the area's good connectivity to the national grid, flat land and higher than average levels of sunlight.

This news comes as the government has announced it intends to withdraw financial support for solar energy generation in the UK, despite Energy and Climate Change secretary Amber Rudd's promised “solar revolution” in Britain.

Most recently Panasonic, one of the world’s largest electronics companies and a major supplier of solar panels in Britain, urged the government to rethink its proposals that could cause “substantial” and “irreversible” damage to the industry.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons