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Beautiful landscape saved from Washford solar park threat

Becky Collier
By Becky Collier
19th July 2023

After years of hard work and campaigning alongside the local community, the tenant farmers who work this land and other environmental groups, we have finally had some good news.  Washford solar park was refused on 18th July by Somerset Council’s Area West Planning Committee.

If the solar park had been approved, we would have seen 14 fields covered with solar panels and surrounded by high security fencing for 40 years.

The site sits prominently in the high-quality landscape of the beautiful River Washford Valley. It is within the landscape settings of the Exmoor National Park and the Quantocks AONB. It is also next to the entire length of one of the most popular public footpaths in the area – the ‘Mineral Line’.

Significantly, surveys have shown that the land is classed as Best & Most Versatile (BMV) land. Government policy prohibits development on BMV land unless there are “compelling reasons”.

This proposal threatened the livelihood of tenant farmers who have been growing food on the land successfully for decades.

Councillors unanimously voted to refuse the application on the grounds of landscape impact and loss of BMV land. The panel were also concerned about the long-term impact of the proposal and spoke of the need to have more solar on our roofs instead.

We are delighted that the threat to this landscape has been rejected and we urge Government to develop policies to prioritise rooftop solar.

You can read our press release here Washford solar park refusal welcomed – 2278kb

Find out more detail on why we objected to Washford solar park

sign our petition asking for a solar rooftop revolution

A picture pf washford solar farm planning document