Support axed for farmers with solar fields

The Government has confirmed plans to cut taxpayer-funded handouts to farmers and landowners for large-scale solar farms. The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) said farmers should go […]

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By Priyanka Shrestha

The Government has confirmed plans to cut taxpayer-funded handouts to farmers and landowners for large-scale solar farms.

The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) said farmers should go back to using agricultural land for growing crops and vegetables instead of “blighting the landscape”.

The subsidy change, which will come into effect from January 2015, is expected to save up to £2 million of taxpayers’ cash every year.

It follows a recent announcement that renewable energy subsidies for new large-scale solar farms will end next April.

Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss said solar panels are best placed on rooftops.

She added: “English farmland is some of the best in the world and I want to see it dedicated to growing quality food and crops. I do not want to see its productive potential wasted and its appearance blighted by solar farms. Farming is what our farms are for and it is what keeps our landscape beautiful.”

There are currently 250 large-scale solar farms installed across the country, with the biggest covering as much as 100 hectares.