Controversial Chippenham solar farm plans to be decided

Solar panels on a solar farm

The solar farm would produce enough electricity for almost 14,000 homes, its developers say

Plans for a 200-acre solar farm that have sparked opposition are set to be decided upon by councillors this week.

Developers Eden Renewables argue the Forest Gate site would produce electricity for almost 14,000 homes.

But with hundreds both for and against the scheme some fear the development will ruin the local green belt area.

The plans were submitted in 2021 but there has been debate around the idea since 2020, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.

‘Reduce visual impact’

Commenting on the bid, one person said: “I am a passionate supporter of any genuinely green environmental projects or proposals.

“However, this proposed development does nothing to improve or assist in lessening environmental impact or offsetting carbon emissions.

“A poorly thought through and ill-conceived proposal in this green belt residential location.”

However, Wiltshire Councillor and head of climate group Zero Chippenham Dr Nick Murry, has backed the bid.

“Zero Chippenham welcomes these revised plans and the amendments to the site layout, which will we understand will reduce the visual impact of the project by scaling back the site area by over 20%, as well as reducing the height of the panels, without significantly reducing generation capacity,” he said.

“We believe the scheme will make a significant contribution to the UK’s and Wiltshire’s decarbonisation targets.”

Chippenham Town Councillor Declan Baseley also supports the plan.

“We desperately need to move away from fossil fuels and start investing in cheap, clean, renewable energy, otherwise, we run the risk of irreversible climatological breakdown,” he said.

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