June 27, 2022 2.29 pm

Call to stop Lincolnshire farmland being lost to houses or solar farms

“Food and water is the first basic need for life – surely we should be protecting these”

By Local Democracy Reporter

A Lincolnshire councillor has criticised the “short-sighted” turning of farmland into housing or solar farms.

Councillor Anne Welburn has called for the UK’s food production to be secured that farmers can meet demand.

A motion she will put before West Lindsey District Council next week will seek to make the protection of food production “the first priority”, and offer greater support to farmers.

Councillor Welburn, the deputy council leader, says that the UK must not become reliant on imports, especially with disruption such as the Ukraine war driving prices up.

The motion will ask councillors: “Do you not think that the first priority of any government or governing body should be to ensure the ability to protect food sources and not become reliant on imports which adds to their carbon footprint?

“Using farmland for housing and solar farms means an ever-downward shift to an unacceptable inability to be self-sufficient in food production, and recent events on the world stage shows how short-sighted that could be in an emergency.

“Food and water is the first basic need for life – surely we should be protecting these.

“We need to ensure that no more productive farmland is taken and if farmers are unable to be sustainable then we need to lobby the government for a fairer package or new cooperatives to make farming work and feed our nation.”

She would like the council’s representatives to take this message to the Central Lincolnshire Joint Strategic Planning Committee, and lobby government ministers.

She will put the question to West Lindsey’s full council meeting on Monday, July 4.

A number of major solar farm applications are in the works for Lincolnshire, including the Mallard Pass Solar Farm near Stamford and the Gate Burton Energy Park.

County Councillor Colin Davie also raised alarm about this issue recently, saying: “I am in favour of renewable energy developments in the right place, and would actively encourage solar on all new buildings, and on brownfield land.

“However, I firmly believe the best use of Lincolnshire’s top-grade agricultural land is to produce the food that the nation needs.”