This is an archived press release
Friday 14 November 2014
National Park planners have given permission for an array of 600 solar panels to be installed on the ground at a Peak District farm.
This is the first time an application for ground-mounted photovoltaic panels has come before the national park planning committee.
Its members voted unanimously to approve the installation at Wetwood Farm, Meerbrook, because of its minimal impact on the surrounding landscape, and for its positive contribution to providing renewable energy to a local business.
Members of the committee had visited the site the day before and viewed it from a number of locations, including The Roaches. They were satisfied the panels' installation on the ground, which is shielded from view by trees, would not be unduly intrusive.
Paul Ancell, chair of the Peak District National Park's planning committee, said: "This is an important decision and one we have not taken lightly – we have to put the landscape first. In this case we believe the ground array of solar panels will not have a significant impact on the national park. So we are pleased to support this working dairy farm in reducing its carbon footprint."
The approval was given with conditions: that the farmer ensures existing trees and shrubs are retained and more planted to continue to protect the site from long distance views. The panels will also have an anti-reflective finish to reduce any glare.
The planning committee considers every application on its own merits.
Mr Ancell added: "Every site has its own solution – what is acceptable here may not be appropriate in other locations. However, that said, this is a great example of how a farm business can achieve its ambitions with renewable energy in a way that does not harm the Peak District National Park."
At the meeting, an application for a wind turbine at Pikehall Farm, Pikehall was refused to protect the landscape and uninterrupted views of the White Peak limestone plateau.
The application, made by Hartington Creamery Ltd., was turned down because the wind turbine would have been seen on the skyline spoiling the scenic beauty.