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Aerial video of proposed Mallard Pass solar farm near Stamford

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Protestors against a solar farm have released an aerial video revealing the huge scale of the proposed scheme.

The two-minute film shows a 'flyover' of the area spanning from Stamford and Uffington in the south up to Essendine and Pickworth in the north.

A computer-generated impression of solar panels filling the fields represents how the development might look.

Keith Busfield, Gareth Davies MP, Adrian Forsell, Sue Holloway, Helen Woolley, Charlotte Vernon, and Coun Kelham Cooke. Photo: Rick Wilson
Keith Busfield, Gareth Davies MP, Adrian Forsell, Sue Holloway, Helen Woolley, Charlotte Vernon, and Coun Kelham Cooke. Photo: Rick Wilson

The video was released following a visit to the site by Stamford and Bourne MP Gareth Davies (Con) and leader of South Kesteven District Council, Kelham Cooke (Con).

Unlike Rutland MP Alicia Kearns, who wrote to Canadian Solar and Windel Energy in December to set out her opposition to their 2,175-acre development plan, Mr Davies has not said whether he is for or against the solar farm.

He said: "It was great to meet members of the Mallard Pass Action Group for a productive and informative chat about the planning process for the solar farm.

"The first stage of the planning consultation closed back in December. I encouraged local residents to contribute to make their views known to the developers. I was pleased to hear that around 900 contributions were made.

"I remain actively involved with local residents, representatives of Mallard Pass, and the local action group and will remain in contact with all parties throughout the planning process.

"I await the results of the first stage of the consultation with interest and will be encouraging all local stakeholders to contribute to the second stage of the consultation when it opens in the spring."

Mallard Pass, if built across the Rutland-Lincolnshire border near Essendine, Ryhall and Carlby, would be the UK’s largest solar farm - several times larger than any already built.

A still from the video showing solar panels east of Stamford
A still from the video showing solar panels east of Stamford

The developers of Mallard Pass will publish a summary of views gained through the first six-week consultation, which took place towards the end of last year.

During the second stage of public consultation - dates for which have not yet been announced - people will be able to comment further.

The government's Planning Inspectorate will make a decision on the solar farm application because it is too large a development to be decided at local government level.

A still from the video showing the solar panels near Essendine
A still from the video showing the solar panels near Essendine

Resident Helen Woolley said: ‘‘This industrial scale development will dominate and overwhelm the area changing the landscape and environment forever and in doing so will take valuable productive farmland out of food production.

"The proposals from Mallard Pass officials make claims for how much energy will be generated but give no indication of what the loss in food production will be, this must be an important factor in considering the merit of this site when at a national level there is a need to balance competing demands for land to ensure both food and energy security.’’

Adrian Forsell, a member of Mallard Pass Action Group who lives in Essendine, said: “The logic, efficiency, land grab and safety of UK solar farms is being increasingly questioned from many quarters let alone government policy on solar energy being in complete disarray.

"The Mallard Pass Action Group is now part of the national Solar Campaign Alliance and we hope by being part of this group we can bring our concerns to the highest levels of government to overturn its conflicting strategies and policies on the subject.”

Stamford Town Council has stated its opposition to the proposed development, as have several parish councils.

A spokesman for Mallard Pass solar farm project team said: "We urgently need to decarbonise our electricity system.

"Mallard Pass Solar Farm would generate a significant amount of clean, renewable energy – the anticipated output is approximately equivalent to the combined domestic consumption of electricity in Rutland and South Kesteven.

"As well as providing infrastructure to generate clean energy, the project is also proposing to deliver a net-gain in biodiversity, connect habitats, and be designed in a way that responds sensitively to the surrounding landscape, respecting local residents and existing heritage features.

"We are not yet at the detailed design stage for Mallard Pass. Our concept plan – which we consulted on at stage one – showed those fields that may be potentially suitable for panels.

"Even in these fields, panels will be spaced to allow for biodiversity, utility corridors and maintenance. Indeed, at stage one approximately 38 per cent of the site was shown for open uses.

" We are now taking time to consider all of the insightful feedback which was received on these early-stage proposals.

"This is informing the development of our detailed design ahead of our stage two consultation, which is scheduled for spring. At this stage, we will be providing visual representations that provide an accurate view of what the development would look like if consented.”

Having watched the video, what do you think? Email your views to smeditor@stamfordmercury.co.uk

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