DO THEY TAKE LAND OUT OF FOOD PRO­DUC­TION?

Countryfile Magazine - - News -

Where wheat and oilseed rape are pri­mary crops, such as in parts of East Anglia, this has been the case. The NFU would pre­fer to see so­lar farms de­vel­oped on poorer qual­ity land, such as low­land sheep pas­ture or semi-brown­field sites, such as old air­fields, but re­spects the right of farm­ers to make their own busi­ness de­ci­sions about the use of their land. Else­where, the NFU has found that farming can con­tinue in and around the so­lar ar­rays. “If the so­lar pan­els are raised high enough above the ground, then with care­ful man­age­ment sheep graz­ing can con­tinue,” says Dr Scur­lock. “The land hasn’t been lost, it’s just multi-lay­ered. It’s like an or­chard that has sheep graz­ing un­derneath, ex­cept in this case it’s a so­lar en­ergy-cap­tur­ing layer with sheep.” Dr Scur­lock adds that even where agri­cul­tural land has been taken out of pro­duc­tion, the im­pact is not as bad as if it were de­vel­oped for hous­ing. “Even where land is taken out of pro­duc­tion, it’s only tem­po­rary, for the life­time of the so­lar farm [around 25 years].”

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