Gloucestershire Campaign to Protect Rural England

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CPRE Gloucestershire condemns Awre solar array proposal

Friday, 07 August 2015 00:00

proposed location of solar array proposed location of solar array Bob Brown

6 August 2015

The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) Gloucestershire has issued a strong objection to what could be one of the biggest solar farms in the country being built in one of the most stunning areas of Gloucestershire overlooking the River Severn at Awre.

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A revised planning application was considered by Forest of Dean District Council on 19th January 2016 and refused.  CPRE's concerns about the impact of the proposals on the character of the area and over the quality of the agricultural land involved featured strongly in the planning balance.

If approved, the area could see around 185,000 solar panels standing 2.8 metres high, with a substation, fencing and CCTV cameras.

Such a development would represent industrialisation on a massive scale in a wholly inappropriate area of the county.

The Severn Vale already has a large solar array at Hill House Farm, Cambridge and applications for others close to Cam and Dursley railway station and Newport.

CPRE Gloucestershire feels that planners should be considering the cumulative impact of solar arrays on the whole Severn Vale, not each bank in isolation, as both sides of the valley have escarpments with outstanding views.

CPRE Gloucestershire supports the use of sustainable energy generation, including PV solar panels, but the sheer scale of the proposed development, which would occupy almost the whole of the beautiful Awre peninsula, would blight the landscape, potentially jeopardising the Forest of Dean’s tourist economy.

The planning application suggests that the area is well screened. This claim is exaggerated. Such a solar array will be visible from 5 km away, and further in the winter months when the leaves have fallen. This area offers some of the most striking views in Gloucestershire, in fact this is the first dramatic bend of the Severn going inland and it would be a tragedy if these views were lost forever.

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