Solar farm allowed after appeal despite concerns it would merge Roydon with Harlow

Business / Tue 14th May 2024 at 07:07am

A SOLAR farm big enough to power more than 16,500 homes has been allowed at appeal by the planning inspectorate reports the Local Democrat Reporter.

Epping Forest District Council had said the proposal from Low Carbon would result in the merging of settlements in Harlow and Roydon.

The council also said it would result in the loss of around 70 hectares of farmland used for food production.

But the application has been allowed at appeal with the inspectorate concluding that while Harlow is a town with a population of approximately 90,000, Roydon is a small village with a population of approximately 1,500 “and is not a ‘town’ by definition, as confirmed by the development plan”.

Inspector Matthew Shrigley added: “Therefore, the scheme would not result in two towns merging.”

He added: “Consequently, although the solar panels and associated development are no doubt engineered built features, recognition of that point does not suggest to me it would result in urban sprawl of an existing built-up area.

“Thus, I disagree that the scheme would contribute to sprawl from either Harlow or Roydon because distinctions in character would remain reinforced by natural landscaping.”

He also said the scheme would make an early and significant contribution to the objective of achieving Net Zero while concluding the site represents in the order of 0.3 per cent of the overall farmland within the district.

“It is extremely probable that greater proportions of higher graded agricultural land would be present elsewhere locally,” he added.

He concluded: “The level of overall scheme benefits on offer still exceeds all of those harms  combined.”

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13 Comments for Solar farm allowed after appeal despite concerns it would merge Roydon with Harlow:

Louise Smyth
2024-05-14 07:31:16

It is such a shame that the residents of Roydon Havn’t been listened to and our picturesque village is being spoiled, when this could have been achieved on disused motorway land elsewhere.

Kim Oconnor
2024-05-14 07:53:57

Theses solar farms are ruining our land scape, they are an eye sore on the landscape. I'm all for being green , but there's no reason theses panels can't go up on every motorway, The lists go on.. what with all theses development s, and now solar farms sprouting up everywhere, we have to be very careful we have lands for food stock.. Its very important. I'm very much for solar panels, but not at the cost of the lands. Theses can be placed anywhere. One day we may need theses lands.

2024-05-14 12:18:04

Great, glad we’re looking at greener solutions to energy on pretty much unused land. Better than building houses and once these are past their use the land can be easily reverted back to farm land. Let’s get more of these things on unused land and on the top of buildings!

2024-05-14 13:44:49

Let's mine the ore using child labour, ship it, manufacture, ship it again, install it on land that should be used for farming, and then do it again in another eight years as panels have a short life span. Massive carbon and immoral footprint all to make money for shareholders dressing the scam as environmental. None of you deserve to be in power for such virtual signalling stupidity. Shame on you.

2024-05-14 14:04:40

Spot on assessment Peter.

2024-05-14 14:37:02

Saw someone on here saying solar panels have a life of 8 years....like really? Mine have been up about 11 years,working just fine. The rest of your post,not worth commenting,hope you feel better soon.

2024-05-14 14:54:20

I don't understand how these people can show their faces in public and throw a childish tantrum over nothing. "This could provide clean electricity to tens of thousands of homes but it makes Roydon look less distinct from Harlow when viewed from above. Waa waa waaaa! I don't want my town to look like its connected to smelly Harlow!" Grow up.

2024-05-14 15:45:58

Where would you like them Kim , in mid air. If they were sited by motorways they would get covered in filth and exhaust emissions reducing their effectiveness.

2024-05-14 16:23:08

Let's all live in the real world for once. What we need is SMRs - small modular reactors. These are the future - zero carbon - infinite life span. Get real people and stop stocking your heads in the sand....door

2024-05-14 22:22:38

In the real world SMRs only exist in pretty PowerPoints for the gullible. Not one has been built or is being built in the western world. China and Russia each have two that you could call an SMR if you stretch the definition to include reactors that aren't really modular and haven't been put into series production. It seems you've been fooled by the hype which suggests they already exist. It seems these PowerPoint reactors' main function is to be used as an excuse for not installing solar and wind, which do exist already at scale. The world generated an extra 513 TWh from solar and wind last year, almost enough to meet the growth in electricity demand. This year it's expected to generate an extra 1300 TWh, more than enough to meet the rise in demand. Meanwhile the world started construction on nuclear reactors (note,not one SMR) that will generate about 58 TWh per year when they finally come online 6, 8, 10 or however many years in the future. People just haven't kept up with the reality of how fast solar and wind are growing.

Les Power
2024-05-15 11:54:05

I believe this is a way of getting planning permission on farm land. They will have their solar farm for a couple of years then say it’s not cost effective. Then put in for planning permission for housing on land no longer classified as agriculture land.This will be a next to nothing employer. Bring no local revenue to the area. Will not make your electric bill cheaper. In fact the positives for the local area are zero. The only people who will benefit from this are the London based company directors.

Nicholas Taylor
2024-05-15 12:39:18

Les, I think you are quite right. As things stand Planning Permission for hundreds of homes on this land would not be given, so an alternative is brought forward which has a "green" credential. With technology advancing as it is, you can bet your life that a site like this will not be profitable in the future and a Planning Application will come forward on what will then be termed a Brownfield site. Similar thing of course with the new hospital site, permission for hundreds of homes would not be given on the Green Belt, so make a hospital application. Then use the old site for some 500 homes.

2024-05-15 21:50:22

Hmmm... Do some research into where and how solar panels are made - from mining the resources to construction. Think along the lines of African child labour and Chinese corruption and you'll be on the right track. Sure we get 'clean' energy here but the immoral & unethical footprint and pollution produced in the creation solar panels shouldn't be ignored.

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