The prospect of large-scale solar energy farms being built in the British countryside has been dealt a devastating blow following an intervention by Eric Pickles, the Communities Secretary.
Two major projects will now have to be scrapped, while future solar farms might never be built. Mr Pickles judged that a solar farm the size of 75 football pitches in Suffolk should not be given planning permission because it was unsightly and was a waste of arable land.
A planning application for a second large-scale solar farm also in Suffolk was rejected last week after a campaign led by Griff Rhys Jones.
The comedian told The Telegraph that the planning refusal represented a “victory for all our backyards”. The effect of the two decisions, made within a fortnight of each other, is likely to scupper large-scale solar farms elsewhere in the British countryside.
The solar industry is already reeling from major changes to the generous subsidy system due to start next April. The industry currently receives about £600 million a year in consumer subsidies added to household electricity bills.