Concerns over solar farm plans next to power stations near Gainsborough

Plans for two new solar farms which cross the Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire border near Gainsborough have sparked concerns.

Island Green Power announced plans for the large scale farms at Cottam and West Burton, which they said will provide more than 1,000MW of energy and power for 324,000 homes.

The new builds will replace decommissioned power stations on each of their respective locations, one of which closed last year and the other of which is due to close in 2022.

However, Lincolnshire County Council has fears over the loss of agricultural land and called for the plans to be “appropriate both in terms of disruption to residents, visual impact and protecting our other economic activity.”

The proposed locations of the solar farmsThe proposed locations of the solar farms
The proposed locations of the solar farms

Coun Colin Davie, executive councillor for environment and strategic planning, said: “Lincolnshire plays a key role in feeding the nation and for future food security, so we would certainly not want to see agricultural land of any grade used in this way.

“The new carbon tax on supermarket imports will make UK-grown foods even more essential.

“As there is considerable public concern over meeting energy supply requirements this winter, it is vital that we have a secure and reliable mix of energy generation sources in this country.

“Renewable technology can play a part in that, and solar generation is a more environmentally sound option than importing and burning other fuels such as coal, but it is still an intermittent generator of power.”

Once the developer has received feedback on the proposals, two applications will be submitted in late 2022 with a decision by the Secretary of State expected in 2023.

Island Green Power was established in 2013 and has delivered 14 solar projects across the UK and Republic of Ireland to date.

Dave Elvin, from the company, said: “We are really excited to share our emerging proposals for these projects.

“The projects will also be contributing towards energy resilience and reducing our reliance on increasingly expensive electricity and gas imports from Europe.

“We recognise the need to deliver these projects sensitively. We want to talk with local communities to understand their views and listen to their ideas.”