Solar farms: temporarily permanent?


18th July 2023

CPRE Oxfordshire is disappointed that a Chalgrove solar farm has been granted permission to extend the temporary operating period. It illustrates an increasing tendency for developers to request longer operating periods once the original application has been permitted.

Temporary permission is given for solar farms on the basis they are damaging to the landscape and agricultural output of the land. It’s also recognised that solar energy itself is a temporary solution to the provision of renewable energy, it may soon be outdated as new, more efficient and reliable technology is explored. In any case there is no need for solar farms on green fields, there is more than enough room on roofs for all the solar energy we need.

However, South Oxfordshire District Council has granted a Chalgrove solar farm, which is already up and running until 2039, an extension to operate to 2054. The move unnecessarily allowing an existing solar farm, which may be using outdated technology long before 2054, another fifteen years to damage the countryside and the productivity of the land.

Geoff Botting, Chair of CPRE South Oxfordshire said:
“It is wholly unjustified to extend this permission. Whilst solar panels are seen as the current solution to the county’s renewable energy targets at some point these will be old technology. Our Councils need to be considering the future, the need to introduce new renewable energy sources and regain agricultural land for food production.”