Denby farm could be among biggest in the UK

A birds' eye view of the areas marked for a 47 acre solar panel farm in Denby.

A birds' eye view of the areas marked for a 47 acre solar panel farm in Denby.

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A 157-acre solar farm proposed for land to the west of Street Lane in Denby has

met with concerns from land campaigners and villagers.

nrhn 221112'The current view of green land from Street Lane Denby, proposed for a solar panel farm.

nrhn 221112'The current view of green land from Street Lane Denby, proposed for a solar panel farm.

Four planning applications to place a total of 7,000 panels on mainly farm land off Street Lane in the village has been submitted by renewable energy company Freetricity.

If they are approved by Amber Valley Borough Council the panels would supply up to 18 mega watts of energy into the national grid - the equivalent yearly power usage of 6000 homes .

But as most of the proposed site falls on Green Belt land - many campaigners see it as a further blight on the borough’s countryside.

Chair of the action group Amber Valley SOS Sylvia Mason, said: “I am all for solar energy and prefer the idea to hideous-looking wind farms, but there is no need to take up valuable Green Belt or agricultural land for it.

“Solar panels should be located in places no one uses, such as roof tops and lamp posts.”

Ripley Town Council voted to oppose the plans at a meeting on Friday - which saw several Denby residents voice concerns over the plans.

But Freetricity says the one-by-two-metre panels are not permanently fixed to the ground and say many find the ‘modernity of such panels ‘aesthetically pleasing’.

Stephen Wiseman, from the company, said: “It is important to note that most of the land was opencast mining land and is not fit for producing crops and only used for grazing. If the land does not find a sustainable planned use then the owners would be left with no other option than to sell off to commercial development, Solar makes a positive environmental use.”

Freetricity intends to lease the land, owned by four separate farms between Street Lane and the A38, for a 25 year period.

The farms would see an 
income return on the power put into the national grid.

Deborah Godber, who owns a 30-horse stud farm and 20 acres of the proposed solar panel site, said: “We thought it was a good idea to help the environment and to continue making a living from the land, without doing any damage to the environment.

“Farms need to diversify now - the financial climate is horrendous out there for us.”

A decision on the plans is expected by February, with the deadline for objections to the council set for November 26. Construction would take between two and three months.