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Washford Solar Farm to go ahead after all despite public outcry

Becky Collier
By Becky Collier
7th June 2024

Washford solar park was refused planning permission in July 2023 by Somerset Council.  Less than one year later, the Planning Inspector has overruled this decision and granted permission, to our dismay and to the disgust of hundreds of local objectors, which included Exmoor National Park, Quantock Hills National Landscape  and all the nearby Town and Parish Councils.

Now the solar park had been approved,  14 fields will be 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 Quantock Hills National Landscape. 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”.

The livelihood of the tenant farmer, who has been growing food on the land successfully for decades, is now at risk.

'If the beautiful Washford river valley behind Watchet can be covered with glass, metal, and plastic, then what is to stop the entire countryside being trashed in this way? '
Fletcher Robinson, CPRE Somerset Planner

 

We will continue to challenge other solar farms that threaten our countryside and capacity to grow food.

 

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