Solar Farms and Battery Storage

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 5:07 pm on 8th June 2022.

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Photo of Anthony Mangnall Anthony Mangnall Conservative, Totnes 5:07 pm, 8th June 2022

It should come as no surprise that even in south Devon we have heard about the issues concerning Mallard Pass. I encourage all residents of Grantham and Stamford to take part in that consultation, and to register their voices—as indeed should all our constituents.

Secondly, we have a food security crisis at the moment, but we also have a global supply chain crisis. We must now have a national target that pushes us to produce food. My hon. Friend Kevin Hollinrake mentioned 75% as a potential target, and we should look at doing that. Anything that takes out productive agricultural land from farming must be reviewed. Solar panels have got to be in the sights of Government to stop that from happening.

Thirdly—I will make this point in my last 33 seconds—a year ago, the Local Electricity Bill was tabled as a private Member’s Bill. We should look at finding local sources to power the network and feed back into the grid. Matt Rodda was bright and clever enough to make an excellent point about his station in Reading: every time I pass through that station, I will think about that proposal, and I would certainly support it. Tidal, wind and solar, in the right places and the right spaces and used in the right way, are absolutely essential.

My last point is about brownfield sites. If I understand correctly, the CPRE report on brownfield sites identifies 21,000 sites across the country totalling 26,000 hectares, equating to what would be 1.3 million houses. Let us use those brownfield sites and commercial spaces, and make sure we keep our countryside as beautiful as possible.