72-acre Solar Farm Planned for West Cumbria

A massive energy farm planned near a Cumbrian village would be equivalent to the size of 40 football pitches.

Fears have already been expressed that the proposed 72-acre solar energy park will be an eyesore that will drive tourists away.

The project to place lines of huge solar panels near Bothel are edging forward as would-be developers build up a case to present to planners.

Work is underway on an assessment exercise demanded because of the proposed development’s size and scale. The site to the south of Bothel could have 77 rows of 3m-wide panels, each hundreds of metres long.

And it’s a plan which has concerned Neil Garrison, who lives in nearby Gilcrux.

He said: “The panels would be up on a ridge that’s visible from most of the hills in the Lake District.

“I think the cumulative impact is actually reducing the number of tourists coming here, and the Lake District is a prime tourist resort. It just feels wrong.”

lan Keighley, part of Westnewton Action Group, added: “It’s an enormous area to cover with big sheets of black plastic and the harm they are doing is greater than the benefit we will get from them.

“The people who live locally should not have these things imposed of them.

“My guess would be that most people in Bothel will be against the solar park – I think it’s an abuse of Bothel.”

Lancashire-based Green Switch Solutions, the developer behind the scheme, had argued that it did not need to be subjected to an environmental assessment currently underway because of the height of the panels.

Residents and an action group have objected to the “exceptionally large” solar panel project, but a spokeswoman said the company would consider the views of the community.

The Green Switch Solutions spokeswoman said: “The site is currently at the stage of a feasibility assessment and in the initial stages of development.

“If it becomes a permitted development we will of course engage with any concerned parties.

“We strive to make each development viable for the customer as well as the local community.”

And the company was keen to stress that the project was at a very early stage. The spokeswoman for the company, which has worked on more than 25 ground-mounted sites across England, added: “We are approached by customers who respond to our adverts and we act on their behalf to investigate the possibility of having a solar farm on their land.“

Tags: Solar PV Installation News, Solar Industry News, e-lec.org


First reported: James Johnson of the the News & Star