Decision to reject solar farm in Devon upheld

Solar panels Planning inspector Brian Cook said Mid-Devon Council had created unnecessary expense

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Campaigners in Devon are claiming victory after plans for a solar farm were thrown out.

The council decision to reject the 45 acre solar farm near Tiverton was backed by a government inspector.

Planning inspector Brian Cook ruled the scheme would have "fundamentally changed the appearance and character of the landscape".

He criticised Mid-Devon District Council over the way it handled the planning case.

He said there was "unreasonable behaviour, resulting in unnecessary or wasted expense" due to the council submitting some of its evidence late.

'For producing food'

The council has been ordered to pay costs to the developers Juwi Renewable Energy. The company did not want to comment on the decision.

Penny Mills from Campaign to Protect Rural England said there were better places for solar panels.

She said: "The importance of the landscape outweighs the gains of renewable energy. There should be no more solar farms on green fields, agricultural land is for farming, it is for producing food."

More than 400 people objected to the original plans to erect 23,500 solar panels on 45 acres of farmland in Morebath, near Dulverton.

A Council spokesperson said "We are pleased that the Planning Inspector has upheld our planning committee's decision not to allow a large solar farm in this beautiful part of Mid Devon.

"We feel that we acted reasonably throughout the process, but acknowledge with disappointment that the Planning Inspector took a different view."

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