Renewable energy industry blasts Tory leadership hopefuls’ views on solar

The UK’s largest renewable energy body has said Truss’ and Sunak’s language on solar is “deeply concerning”

Big Zero Report 2022

For the second time in just a week, the renewable energy industry has raised concerns over the comments heard during the Tory leadership race.

The Association for Renewable Energy and Clean Technology (REA), which represents around 500 energy companies, has urged Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss to endorse solar installations and recognise their benefits.

Leadership candidate Liz Truss had previously pledged to change planning laws to restrict further solar development.

Speaking at a Conservative Party event in Exeter, Liz Truss said: “Our fields should be filled of our fantastic produce – whether it’s the great livestock, the great arable farms.

“It shouldn’t be full of solar panels and I will change the rules. I will change the rules to make sure we are using our high value agricultural land for farming.”

These views were slammed by the trade association Solar Energy UK a few days ago. 

Mark Sommerfeld, Head of Power and Flexibility at the Association for Renewable Energy and Clean Technology (REA), said: “The language used so far over the course of the Conservative leadership race regarding solar and land use is deeply concerning, and the REA urges the candidates to recognise that solar farms do not encroach on agricultural land.

“The solar industry aims to work in conjunction with, not against, agricultural use of land, commonly by either building on marginal land or ensuring multi-land use applications.

“In doing so, it provides additional revenue to farmers – supplementing, not stopping, more traditional livestock and arable farming activities.”

ELN has approached Rishi Sunak’s campaign team and Liz Truss’s parliamentary office for a comment.

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