Back to list West Burton Solar Project

Representation by Catrin Fieldson

Date submitted
27 April 2023
Submitted by
Members of the public/businesses

Our small 350 acre family farm will effectively be surrounded by 7000 acres of solar panels for the next 40 years. I think its obvious what the practical, social and emotional impact will be for us: Space: The proposals will effectively industrialize the countryside around us. The freedom of movement for us and wildlife will come to an end over- night. The proposed surrounding fencing will effectively coral Deer, traditionally free to roam, in ways yet to be determined or measured. Its reasonable to fear that their numbers will increase on our 350 acres as they will have limited means of escape as they will obviously also be excluded from the surrounding 7000 acres!!. There will be a negative impact over time and we have been offered no channel to deal with this consequence, should our worst fears prevail. Drainage: This is already a contentious issue, no more so than in these flatlands of Lincolnshire, with ever more housing needing evermore drainage and an over stretched environment authority and infrastructure. Its reasonable to assume that once agriculture is taken out of play, so will the demand placed on the authority tasked with managing it. We are very concerned that the Lincoln Flood Scheme ( another Government decision forced upon this small family farm some years ago) will be used more and more going forward as Lincolnshire battles with climate change. When initiated, many acres of our land is deliberately flooded to protect the city of Lincoln, for which we receive NO compensation for loss of crops. Again, we have been given no assurances that any future losses will ever be considered or compensated for. Lighting: Lincolnshire has some amazing night skies with very low light pollution. We are only 6 miles away from Lincoln but all our lives, we have been able to look up and see the stars. Miles of expensive industrialized high fencing will need security through lighting which will have an impact on our ability to enjoy the wonder of our night skies. To have this taken away (when better planning could have negated the need) will be devastating. Income: We have diversified our business (at our own expense which entailed borrowing) into holiday cottage lets. People come to stay here because it is peaceful, they are surrounded by the sound of Birds by day and Owls by night, they can look up and see stars clearly and walk along our farm paths and take in the countryside scenery. The very things they come for will be taken away and so, over time, they will stop coming as no one would knowingly book a farm stay on the edges of industry. We fully expect our business will be lost and we have been offered no channel to deal with this loss should our worst fears prevail. Wellbeing: We are not wealthy absentee Landowners. We are the small family farm left behind to continue to struggle to survive against all the odds. The odds have been placed before us largely due to Government decisions and this latest is another blow to hope. (Please note: it has also been decided this week that plans to develop the local airfield into a visitor attraction, which we hoped would greatly improve our prospects, have been cancelled by the Government due to other Government plans for it) so you see, little scope for hope for this small farm and these small communities. A sense of helplessness has crept into our everyday lives as we witness the reality of so called consultation. After many generations of farming and being part of this idyllic rural community, we feel time is up for us. Our voices are unheard, our needs are diminished and our future in farming squeezed between lit fencing, the sound of batteries and silver horizons instead of green and the constant worry of floods. These proposals are very depressing and I am concerned about the impact on my husbands [], as a farmer, he simply cannot envisage being fenced in for the rest of his life.