Fears farming land will be lost under 1,300-acre solar farm plan for Chickerell

Fears farming land will be lost under 1,300-acre solar farm plan for Chickerell

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Controversial plans to build a 1,300-acre solar farm and battery storage site in Chickerell have been criticised by local people as bad for the environment.
Statera Energy wants to build the £300million scheme – that would take up the same area as 950 football pitches – on land between Friar Waddon and Buckland Ripers.
Despite the developer claiming the site will help the county meet national energy production targets, nearby homeowners have expressed concerns over the scheme.
Chickerell resident Helen Hazell told The West Dorset Magazine: “This is taking away much-needed agricultural land used for food production and farming – a topic currently close to all our hearts. Appalling damage will be done to the countryside by the panels, one third of which is in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.”
She added: “The loss of hedgerows and arable farmland will have a detrimental effect on wildlife. “Currently this provides a habitat for many different species. The proposals to replace these with small planted areas surely is not enough to make up for the loss of the current natural habitat.”
Nottington resident John Paton fears the development will disturb ‘centuries old’ badger setts at the Friar Waddon site.
Mr Paton said: “Badger setts can be found continuously along the line of the greensand outcrop at the site and are identified by their characteristic spoil mounds outside their setts.
“There is one such sett at Friar Waddon, and doubtless others within the proposed development area, which is over 70 metres long and has a huge number of entrance holes. It must be many centuries old and maybe thousands of years old and will lie just a few metres outside the development boundary, but changes to land use and the strong security fencing used around solar arrays will deny the badgers the food they have enjoyed from time immemorial.”

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