Solar Energy UK
28 September 2022
Solar Energy UK and environmental organisations have written to the Prime Minister asking her to support solar farms.
The solar industry trade association and a broad range of environmental and climate change groups have called on new Prime Minister Liz Truss to back the UK solar industry.
In an open letter published today, Solar Energy UK and 18 other organisations highlight how solar farms are a crucial part of the solution to the energy and cost of living crisis.
The letter responds to comments made over the summer by the Prime Minister that solar farms are ‘paraphernalia’, claiming that they a threat to UK food supply.
As the letter makes clear, the opposite is true.
British solar power and agriculture have gone hand in hand since the beginning of the UK solar industry, the organisations write.
Farmers benefit from both rooftop installations and ground-mounted solar farm projects, says the letter, noting that the solar industry works closely with farmers and landowners on their solar projects.
There are many benefits to solar farms, which help defend UK and global food supply by addressing climate change. According to Defra, the government’s department for food and rural affairs, this constitutes the greatest threat to domestic food security.
Solar farms can provide an additional income stream for farmers, keeping their businesses profitable despite the cost-of-living crisis, while also delivering significant local environmental benefits. Well designed and well-maintained solar farms have been shown to support thriving wildlife habitats, providing a range of biodiversity gains for the duration of their lifespan. Sheep are commonly grazed around the panels, too.
The solar industry has developed guidance to support the responsible development of solar projects. This includes Solar Energy UK’s Natural Capital Best Practice report, developed in collaboration with the National Farmers’ Union, ecological consultants and the higher education sector. t has been endorsed by Natural England, the government’s advisor for the natural environment in England.
Solar Energy UK has published a land use briefing detailing the benefits of solar farms to the UK’s agricultural sector.
Solar Energy UK chief executive Chris Hewett said: “The solar industry is a natural partner for countryside management, and I would be delighted to accompany the Prime Minister on a visit to one of the UK’s many excellent solar farms. She can see for herself how their affordable, clean electricity will help to power the UK out of the cost-of-living crisis.”
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