Residents anger over plans for multiple solar farms across Lincolnshire
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They say the timing, nature, and number of major applications in the county has given them serious concerns.
The group 7,000 acres, comprising local residents and campaigners, is opposed to the Gate Burton Energy Park, at Gate Burton south of Gainsborough, one of four large solar proposals currently under examination by the Planning Inspectorate.
Hannah Lockwood, from the campaign group, said: “This current examination format would be very difficult for us all to follow and participate in, and so we feel we are being unfairly treated and ultimately discriminated against.”
A preliminary meeting for the Gate Burton Energy Park proposal is scheduled to be held at the Double Tree Hilton, Brayford Wharf North in Lincoln. on July 4.
The group argues the process is “fundamentally flawed”. They cite the choice of Lincoln as the meeting location, the timing of examinations during the summer school holidays, and the scale and number of schemes being proposed in a short span of time as key issues.
These factors, they believe, hinder the community’s ability to engage with the process effectively.
In response to these concerns, the Planning Inspectorate said each Examining Authority will need to hold hearings and request submissions as necessary to gather and test the evidence in order to reach informed and lawful recommendations to the Secretary of State.
They also suggested members of the public could reuse parts of their submissions across these projects where the same issues overlap and where it is practical to do so.
A spokesman said: “We recognise there is the potential for resource challenges for parties wishing to participate in one or more of these solar examinations, and consequently the Examining Authority for the Gate Burton Energy Park application has sought to increase the opportunity for the examination timetables for other projects to avoid clashes with deadlines and events.”
The Lincolnshire area has seen a surge in solar farm proposals, with at least seven major solar farms in the pipeline.
These ambitious projects could power over 637,000 homes and contribute towards the UK’s net zero targets.
However, they have sparked controversy among residents and politicians, who fear the impact on farmland and walking routes across the countryside.