December 30, 2021 12.00 pm

2021: Green shoots of success for county’s environmental campaigns – but solar fails to shine

The winds are changing for cleaner industry, but solar farms get burnt by council

Climate took centre stage in Lincolnshire this year with the county’s first climate summit.

The event, at the Lincolnshire Showground was an opportunity for the council, and a number of businesses, to shout about what they were doing to help solve climate issues and call on others to do more.

It came as the government hosted a number of international representatives for the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) at in Glasgow.

Those attending were told by Lincolnshire County Councillor’s Environment Portfolio Holder Councillor Colin Davie that “Lincolnshire and your county council are not just ahead of the game, but leaving government departments in its wake”.

Councils across the region have already come up with, or are in the middle of organising plans to tackle the issue – though some still hope measures will go further.

LCC itself has reduced its own carbon emissions by more than 60% since 1990 and set a new target of a 68% reduction by 2025 according to bosses.

Carbon neutrality was also a major factor for a series of new events planned for Lincoln Castle next year which hope to promote the best food and drink the castle has to offer.

Councillor Colin Davie kicked off speeches to the delegates at the summit.

The year also saw the Triton Knoll wind farm off the Lincolnshire coast successfully generate renewable electricity for the first time, while a major plans for a further new farm off Dogger Bank could connect back to land on the coastline between Grimsby and Skegness if given the go ahead.

However, not all was well, as Lincolnshire County Council bosses within days of the conference decried proposals for a large solar farm near Gainsborough, along with several others across the county.

Councillor Davie, who had led the conference, told press the “scale and rapidity of these proposals are ringing alarm bells with councils and residents” with concerns over the loss of agricultural land.

“Renewable energy will play a part in the country’s energy generation strategy, but solar power generation on this scale is neither reliable, appropriate or desirable,” he said at the time.

Speaking to Local Democracy Reporter Daniel Jaines earlier this month he said: “Putting it on buildings is absolutely the right thing to do, putting it on brownfield land I have no problem with, but solar is not a clean tech.”

He said that with the new environment Act and the requirement for the UK to produce more food at home “if you take out agricultural land of any quality that produces […] that has to be imported and there’s a carbon cost of importing food.

“So I want to see the balancing argument – is a renewable energy scheme that produces renewable energy, so beneficial, that it outweighs the need and the cost of importing food from overseas?”

A few years ago, the county argued against putting wind farms on land, instead urging them to be placed off shore, it might be hoping it can rope solar farms into doing the same – but only the planning inspectors will make the final decision.

So more green seeds planted this year, we’ll see what happens when they come to fruition.

Spotted an error? Please notify us by selecting that text and pressing Ctrl+Enter.