UK solar sector slams proposals to redefine land categories

By Molly Lempriere
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The proposals would effectively ban solar from around 41% of land in England. Image: Lightsource bp.

The UK’s solar sector has hit back at proposals that would redefine land categories in the country, making the construction of ground-mount PV projects harder.

Initially reported in the Guardian, environment secretary Ranil Jayawardena is said to be considering extending the definition of Best and Most Versatile (BMV) land to Grade 3B.

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Currently most solar farms are developed on land in the UK that is designated as 3B within the Agricultural Land Classification (ACL) scheme.

The extension of the BMV categorisation to 3B would effectively ban solar from around 41% of land in England, or about 58% of agricultural land.

“The UK solar sector is alarmed by attempts to put major planning rules in the way of cheap, homegrown energy,” said Chris Hewett, CEO at trade association Solar Energy UK.

“Solar power is the answer to so many needs and policy demands: it will cut energy bills, deliver energy security, boost growth and help rural economies. Ranil Jayawardena’s opposition to solar farms must surely make him part of the ‘anti-growth coalition’.”

Speaking to sister site Solar Power Portal, a spokesperson from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said: “The environment, farming and economic growth go hand-in-hand, and as stated in the Growth Plan, we are committed to increasing our long-term energy security and strengthening the UK’s food security.

“That’s why we will be looking at the frameworks for regulation, innovation and investment that impact farmers and land managers to make sure that our policies are best placed to boost food production, increase resilience, drive growth and protect the environment.”

Read the full story on Solar Power Portal.

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