Illminster solar farm in Somerset approved

Plans to extend a solar farm in Somerset have been approved, making it the largest of its kind in the West Country.

The 20-hectare solar farm will be located off the A303 in Ilminster on private land on the Dillington Estate.

Despite objections over the impact on wildlife and the landscape, the vote went through.

South Somerset District Council said if it had objected the plans would still have gone through on appeal.

Campaigner, Clare Hart, said: "Solar panels are great, I absolutely have no problems at all with sustainable energy, but they should be sited on brownfield sites and not greenfield sites."

Council leader Ric Pallister, a Liberal Democrat, said the council had to follow clear government guidelines on sustainable energy and farm diversification.

He said: "In the end if we ruled with our hearts and said no to this one it would have been overturned on appeal because we would have been going directly against national government policy.

"You have to stick by the rules whether you like it or not - you have to have valid planning reasons, if you haven't, you can't turn it down."

Six councillors voted in favour, three against and three abstentions.

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