Thank you for your recent correspondence regarding solar farms on farmland.
It is the height of folly to take good productive land out of agricultural use at a time when the world’s normal food supply chains have been disrupted by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as well as the ongoing result of the coronavirus.
During the debate we organised on this subject, my colleagues and I pointed out the many problems that would arise if these proposals were approved not to mention the dangerous precedent it would set.
We are cautiously optimistic because the response we’ve had from ministers has been encouraging. They were largely sympathetic and supportive in responding to the concerns we raised and they pointed out the National Planning Policy Framework does not support building solar farms on good farmland.
At DEFRA questions in the House, the Environment Secretary also personally confirmed to me that the Government has already "changed the planning guidance from the Chief Planning Officer in the then-Department for Communities and Local Government to make it clear that there should be a powerful presumption against the construction of field-scale solar on the best and more versatile agricultural land—that is defined as grade 3b land and above."
Lincolnshire is the breadbasket of England thanks to the hard work of our farmers and the investment we have made in agricultural education and skills attainment will not pay off if our farms are rented out to generate solar energy.
Please rest assured that my like-minded colleagues and I will continue to raise this with Ministers and other officials.
Thank you again for taking the time to keep me informed.
EDWARD LEIGH MP