However, I think we need to look at how we are using our finite land resource differently.
Essentially fields capture sunlight to produce food, fibre and fuel to feed and clothe people. But some of our food production does not go into the food chain, for example the growing of maize for AD electricity plants and wheat for ethanol production. So I ask what’s the difference between a field of maize for electricity production and a field of solar panels? In fact, I could argue that solar panels are better for the countryside and the environment because solar panels don’t require the agrochemicals and pesticides needed to grow maize and wheat.
The third issue is diversity. Some people assume that a field full of solar panels is only producing electricity. In fact, if managed sympathetically the land amongst the solar panels can be a valuable space for wildflowers and creating wildlife habitat – doubly valuable in our intensively farmed landscape.
The government proposals to reform the support for farmers to in future include using taxpayer money to take land out of production for one or two years to create space for wildlife, help soils recover and improve water quality. If you think about it, putting solar panels in a field is achieving the same goals – providing habitat, improving soil and water quality – whilst generating electricity, but with the benefit of not requiring taxpayer support.
For these reasons I cannot support the decision made today to give the green light to wind turbines and I do worry that the decision has been made without due comparison between the options and understanding the wider implications and practicalities of imposing commercial-sized wind turbines into our countryside.
To my mind we should be exploring all the alternatives to generate power on a micro and commercial scale whilst doing everything to reduce our energy usage. When, and only when, we have exhausted all the alternatives and we still have an energy deficit, should we consider on-shore wind turbines.
The message from the Central Lincolnshire Strategic Plan meeting yesterday is that if you vote conservative, and if you vote labour, you are supporting a policy of building huge, commercial scale on-shore wind turbines in our countryside as a FIRST option to achieve carbon zero.
That’s why voting Independent matters. /Cllr Peter Lundgren, Lincolnshire Independent