Proposal for huge Buxworth solar farm withdrawn as High Peak MP speaks out

High Peak MP Robert Largan has spoken out in Parliament against the idea of a new 77-acre solar farm near Furness Vale, just as the Ukraine crisis is raising critical questions about the UK’s energy security.

By Ed Dingwall
Monday, 14th March 2022, 2:49 pm

As the Advertiser reported in January, German company Kronos Solar made a preliminary screening request to High Peak Borough Council to scope out potential planning requirements for a solar farm on land off Dolly Lane.

Following opposition from neighbours, the Peak District National Park and others, the request has now been withdrawn – but that does not rule out a full application in future.

Whatever the fate of the site, the situation illustrates the challenge which areas like High Peak may face as the dependence on foreign fossil fuels and the climate emergency put pressure on the UK to increase the share of renewables in its energy mix.

Sign up to our daily Buxton Advertiser Today newsletter

Robert Largan MP at Chinley Churn, the potential site of the solar farm.

Speaking about the application in the Commons on Wednesday, March 9, Mr Largan said: “Climate change is the greatest long-term challenge we face globally, and I am fully committed to fighting it. I am an enthusiastic supporter of renewable energy. The events in Ukraine in recent weeks, and the subsequent spike in wholesale oil and gas prices, demonstrate the importance of energy security.

“Clearly, we need to end our reliance on global fossil fuel prices and transition to clean renewable energy sources. We have made very good progress over the last decade, particularly on off-shore wind. The Government are also rightly pushing ahead with modular nuclear reactors. Solar should be a key part of that strategy.

“However, I have several serious concerns about this proposal. The solar farm would be entirely within the Green Belt and adjoins the Peak District National Park.”

Reports from Westminster in recent days suggest the Government may ease planning restrictions to support an increase in solar and on-shore wind farms, a prospect not always welcomed by local communities.

Mr Largan did not address those rumours but said: “Government guidance encourages local planning authorities to prioritise developed and non-agricultural land for large-scale solar farm developments, so long as the land is not of high environmental value.

“The Peak district is a special place; it is the home of the Kinder trespass, and the first ever national park. We have a responsibility to conserve it for future generations.”

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together.” – Louise Cooper, editor.