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Churchover solar

 Churchover attacked for a third time

The land owner, who now lives well out of the way over near Meriden, is so desperate to become a renewable energy subsidy speculator that after having two separate industrial wind turbine proposals rejected on her School Farm land at Churchover, she is now trying to obtain permission to build a 60 acre solar park. Despite the inefficiency of solar panels, she will enjoy huge subsidies that are of course loaded onto the public. 

But it is unlikely her new wheeze will work, as the Government has recently (May 2014) announced that the Solar Park subsidy scheme will be shut to large ones (60 acres is large!) from April 2015, as Ministers attempt to curb the blight to the countryside and keep the amount of renewable subsidy from escalating to unaffordability. 

The Energy Minister recently pledged that solar parks must not become “the new onshore windfarms” on greenfields and said he wanted solar panels installed on factory rooftops instead (I am sure he also meant warehouses!). See   

 The Renewable Energy Foundation has made a conservative estimate that solar subsidy will be £1 billion by 2020, which is totally unaffordable, driven predominantly by a huge increase in the number of large-scale Solar parks.  See

One can agree with Hive Energy (the landowner's developer) in their propaganda that a solar park is certainly less intrusive than her huge industrial turbines but to argue as though its erection will be better for the landscape, the food productivity of the land, the wildlife and the community than if it wasn’t there, is obtuse. 

At a time when food security has seldom been more important, it would be reckless to allow a greed for subsidies to override the need to produce food on 60 acres of prime agricultural land.  

A Daily Telegraph Whitehall source felt “The direction of travel is away from Solar Farms - especially where communities don’t want them” 

The Churchover community has in the last 12 years fought off three major developments that would all have dived property prices and ruined the landscape of this oasis of a conservation village surrounded by environmentally-rich fields, that help separate the encroaching Rugby from Lutterworth. The World of Rugby Retail Park, and two windfarms. 

Is the community going to be fooled by a landowner, who when out fox hunting could argue with some historic justification that farmers and landowners have protected and managed the countryside well on behalf of the community, but now shows her ruthlessness in her quest for our money by industrialising and taking out of food production a large portion of her farm?  

Hopefully nobody is against real wealth creation and entrepreneurs becoming rich, while some questions that need answering are; should she be sacrificing our communal environment for her own private gain? how much money will she and Hive make every year for 20+ years, from the non-earned subsidies that we pay for in our electricity bills?  Will her solar panels be made by British jobs or do they come shipped in from overseas? 

When will the country wake-up to the threat of the political vanity of the alarmist wind and solar energy scam, that creates a miniscule amount of intermittent energy which the National Grid has difficulty in balancing without paying constraint payments, while destroying real jobs in the wider energy-intensive manufacturing economy and increasing fuel poverty?  (for example the 400 Port Talbot steel jobs gone, partly because of high UK energy costs)

A few tons of CO2 saved pails into total insignificance in the face of China and India quite understandably building hundreds of coal-fired power stations to help reduce the poverty in their countries through cheap energy. 

We can take some confidence from a similar solar farm at Deepers Bridge near Southam being rejected by elected Councillors in April 2014. See   

Also, in the first solar park appeal case since the government tightened the solar planning guidelines in March, Hive Energy’s proposal at Tattingstone, Suffolk was rejected. The Inspector Elizabeth Ord makes it clear that large-scale solar farms should focus on “previously developed and non-agricultural land”. 

Should we feel sorry for the land owner, as her hand delivered leaflet seems to suggest?  Lets be clear, It is her actions that continue to create divisiveness. 

Would it be too much for her to realise her mistake, do the decent thing and call the whole project off?  

Unfortunately, it is likely the community will continue to be under seige from the threat from renewable energy subsidy speculators for a third time in five years.