Two Lincoln solar farms rejected after villagers protest

West Lindsey District Council has rejected two applications for ‘green wedge’ solar farms near Lincoln after a group of village residents protested the proposals.

The two farms, allocated to agricultural land around Burton, were previously deferred after a number of objections so that other site options could be explored.

The first application by AEE proposed a 42 ha site comprised of two separate elements off the B1398 around Burton by Lincoln village and the A15.

The second application by RGE Energy was for the construction of a farm on land off Middle Street, Burton-by-Lincoln.

Some 12 Burton, Riseholme and South Carlton residents attended the planning meeting on Wednesday, November 12 at the council chambers in Gainsborough, armed with placards against the schemes.

Both planning applications were refused by the council.

A council spokesperson said: “Both applications were refused due to the visual impact they would have on the designated green wedge between Lincoln and the villages to the north including Burton.”

Before the meeting, the group argued that while they were not against the idea of solar power, it was the positioning of the two farms that they disagreed with.

Bill Maris, who farms at South Carlton, said: “I farm the land near to where the solar scheme is proposed. I’ve just had my soil analysed and some of my land is grade one and it’s certainly all grade two.

“A lot of the land that is proposed for this site will also definitely be grade two and some of it will be grade one.

“I don’t object to solar, I object to it going on good, agricultural land. It should be used for farming and there are many alternatives to energy but there is only one place you can produce food, and that’s on land.

“I suppose to the farmer that is renting the land it’s easy money if you’re offered a thousand pounds an acre for 25 years,” he added.

Local resident Sue North said: “We are not opposed to solar energy, what we are opposed to is where the farms are proposed for. These farms are on what’s called the green wedge, which was given that status by West Lindsey District Council to separate the countryside from the town.

“The two farms, which we have to look at together because they are side by side, would create a tunnel for the old coach road that people walk through.”

Alison Richards added: “For a lot of people the historic coach road, which is mentioned in the Domesday book, is a recreational route for a lot of people in the area; walkers, cyclists, horse riders and a lot of families use it.

“For many it’s the only route for people to the north of Lincoln without trespassing on a field.”

Desiree Applewhite said: “It might only be a temporary 25 years slot but it would ruin an amenity for a generation. There are plenty of other brownfield sites which can be used, such as disused airfields.”