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Solar power plants in our countryside

Becky Collier
By Becky Collier
23rd November 2023

Rooftops are the best place for solar panels for our landscapes and wildlife, too.

 

Yet Somerset continues to face applications for large scale solar power plants on farmland, affecting our landscapes, our habitats and our ability to grow our own food.  Our new interactive map shows just how many solar power plants we have already – and how many more could be on the way.

Here is our map – it’s not a pretty sight!

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You can zoom in and out using  + and –

The legend shows up if you click the double arrows on the top left corner of the map.

You can click on each marker on the map to find details of each solar plant, its size, how much energy it will generate and its planning status. If you want to look up a specific planning application, click on the marker and then copy the reference number found in the planning hyperlink column.  Go to the Somerset Council planning portal and you can use this reference number to look up the application.  You will need to select the appropriate previous district council from the list (this shows up on the info for each marker on our map)

This map is based on Government data from spring 2023 – we will update it regularly.

We need renewable energy

Of course we do. But we also need our countryside! We need it for food security, nature recovery and other climate mitigation measures such as tree and hedgerow planting. Our green spaces are vital for the health and wellbeing of people and wildlife.

A series of crises in recent years, including energy security, food security, climate change, nature recovery and housing, are placing the countryside under intense pressure.

We need a rooftop revolution

Generating renewable energy doesn’t have to be at the expense of our countryside. CPRE’s research shows that our rooftops can provide over half of our solar energy targets. Installing solar panels on existing buildings and car parks would enjoy near-universal public support and help minimise objections to large solar farms in the countryside.

If you agree, please sign our petition calling on the government to set a national rooftop solar target of at least 40GW by 2035.

Sign our petition

You can read more about our approach to solar power in Somerset here

 

solar panels in a field