Liz Truss bans farm solar projects as Tory MP warns plan is ‘unwise’ | Political News

Leeds Terrass is poised to ban solar projects on most farms in England, a move that will frustrate climate change campaigners and some Tory backbenchers.

The prime minister has long opposed solar farms on agricultural land, and in 2014 denounced them as “destroying the landscape” when he was environment minister.

During this summer’s Conservative leadership campaign, she said she would like to see farmers produce food from crops and livestock “rather than filling fields with appliances like solar farms”.

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Confirming the imminent ban on farmland solar projects, the Prime Minister’s spokesman said: “We want to improve long-term energy and food security.

“We’re looking at regulations and investments that affect farmers to ensure our projects promote food production and protect the environment. It’s best for farmers to decide how best to use their land.”

Solar projects are estimated to be banned from around 40% of England’s land and nearly 60% of agricultural land, according to proposed changes to planning regulations.

But the solar ban has already been criticised by Conservative MP Angela Richardson, who holds just 3,337 Lib Dems in the “Blue Wall” constituency of Guildford, Surrey.

“There is a planning application for a solar farm in my constituency which I support as it will help my local university achieve its net zero goal by 2030,” she tweeted.

“A blanket ban on solar farms is unwise. It should be considered on a case-by-case basis.”

Ms Truss expressed her strong hostility to wind farms at the Conservative leadership rallies in Darlington on August 9 and Cheltenham on August 11.

“I’m someone who wants to see farmers produce food, without filling out forms, without red tape, without filling fields with things like solar farms,” ​​she said in Darlington. “We want crops, we want livestock. .”

Conservative Party leadership candidate Liz Truss speaks during the Conservative leadership election event in Exeter, England, on August 1, 2022.  REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
Liz Truss talks about her opposition to agricultural land solar farms during her Conservative leadership campaign

Two days later, in Cheltenham, she said: “I think one of the most depressing sights when you’re driving through England is seeing fields that should be full of crops or livestock, full of solar cells. plate.

“I’m not against solar panels per se. There are a lot of commercial rooftops in the UK where solar panels can be placed. But they shouldn’t be on farmland that should be used for food production.”

The brawl over farmland solar panels comes as the prime minister faces a rural rebellion over conservation and the environment while pursuing economic growth.

Conservationists and wildlife activists reacted angrily to her reaction to Greenpeace protesters who interrupted her speech at a Conservative Party conference, when she denounced them as part of an “anti-growth coalition”.

In an interview with The Sunday Times over the weekend, National Trust boss Hillary McGrady accused Ms Truss of “demonising” environmentalists and said her members were outraged and worried about the consequences of her policy. threaten.

“Empower locals”

The repeal of EU laws protecting the environment, the creation of government-proposed investment zones in national parks and the lifting of fracking bans have also faced strong opposition from the green lobby.

Some Conservative MPs are also alarmed at the prospect of voters in rural areas turning their backs on the party as support for the Conservative Party collapsed in the polls, returning to Westminster after the party meeting adjourned.

A government spokesman defended plans to allow investment zones in national parks, telling Sky News: “Investment zones will provide the growth, jobs and housing the community wants and needs.

“They are not imposed by the government – we are empowering local places to develop plans that are appropriate for their area. We will not compromise strong and mature protections for national parks, areas of outstanding natural beauty and reserves.

“The national green space policy will continue to apply and all proposals must be agreed by local planners or national park authorities. Those who disagree will not be moved forward and cannot become investment areas.”

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