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UK Government urged to halt solar farm expansion

The former head of the National Farmers' Union has called on the government to halt the spread of solar farms in the countryside

The former head of the National Farmers’ Union (NFU), Minette Batters, has called on the next government to stop the spread of solar farms in rural areas.

Speaking at the Hay Literary Festival, Ms Batters said the financial benefits of solar farms tempt landowners, but local communities oppose these projects.

Minette Batters highlighted that solar farms are being built as dairy and arable farming face an uncertain future.

Ms Batters pointed out that wealthy investors, including overseas financiers, are buying large areas of the countryside, often displacing tenant farmers in the process.

The former NFU chief warned that this trend will continue unless the government implements a new land strategy to protect traditional farming and its economic value.

Ms Batters emphasised that the country is being sold off to those who do not pay taxes in the UK, calling for immediate changes.

Her comments came in response to an audience member’s question about the increasing number of large scale solar farms covering significant areas of land.

In response to these comments, Solar Energy UK, Chief Executive Chris Hewett said: “Minette Batters is no longer the head of the NFU and she is now expressing her personal opinion.

“There is clear planning policy which Ministers have recently reiterated, setting out the balance of priorities for the nation. Solar farms support the rural economy, and integrate with agriculture. They create no threat to food security.” 

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