Grass not Glass

We are in a major fight. With the growing number (and size) of solar farms encroaching on our landscape and productive farmland, we have taken on a hydra. Here in Devon, as elsewhere, a rash of huge solar farm applications is raining down on Local Planning Authorities.

In Mid Devon recently, we were part of a campaign that saw a solar giant refused. In Torridge, another was granted permission, but we are challenging that decision in law. The law is expensive, but often the best resort: so we have set up a crowdfunding campaign to seek your help in enabling us to continue this vital work.

Devon’s world-beating farmland is under siege. The equivalent of 25 Devon farms have already been converted from food production to solar energy. More than 1000 further acres are ‘earmarked’.

Despite a strong campaign by us and local residents including actor John Nettles, the controversial application for a 164-acre site in the rural parish of Pyworthy near Holsworthy – which already has 5 solar farms – was passed by Torridge District Council in November.

But we are fighting back. Devon CPRE and Pyworthy residents are challenging the decision in the High Court, with the aim of ensuring that local planning authorities – right around the country – cannot ignore or override their own policies and landscape assessments in making these decisions.

We’ve already met initial success: Torridge District Council immediately conceded. The developer, global giant RES, continues to resist but we are optimistic that we have a strong case and can have this permission quashed. With two more large-scale solar farm applications currently in the Torridge planning system and others around the county, this could be a pivotal moment.

Legal challenges of this kind cost a lot of money, of course – typically up to £50,000. As a small Devon-based independent charity, we and local residents are fighting huge international companies with deep pockets and a passionate ambition to cover Devon with black glass.

That’s why we have launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise a war chest for our campaign,’Grass not Glass’, which could have implications for rural communities all over the UK.

Anything you can give will help us in this David-and-Goliath battle. And if you would share this crowdfunding campaign far and wide with your family, friends and contacts who love Devon’s unique and captivating countryside, we will keep fighting to save it.

We need your help to enable us to draw a line in the sand, to stiffen the resolve of planning authorities to preserve the high-quality farmland which could be the biggest ‘carbon capture’ resource we possess.

Please donate, and please spread the word. Visit our crowdfunding page at https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/devon-cpre

Solar Farms currently in planning are:

East Devon:
Land at Beavor Grange Farm, Axminster- reference 21/2992/MFUL – 69 acres.
Land adjacent to Peradon Farm, Clyst Hydon. Reference 21/3120/MFUL – 174 acres.

Torridge
Coldharbour Farm Ashreigney Chulmleigh – reference 1/0823/2021/FULM – 147 acres

Webbery Barton & Cleave Farm, nr Bideford – reference 1/1057/2021/FULM 156 acres

You can make a difference to Devon