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To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps she is taking to balance the environmental damage caused to agricultural land by solar farm developments with the need to mitigate the effects of climate change when considering whether farm subsidies should be paid on farm land occupied by solar farms.
Agricultural land and soils form an integral part of the natural environment. While the Government recognises that solar power can have a role to play in reducing carbon emissions, the loss of agricultural land to solar arrays constitutes damage to that element of the environment. The Government therefore discourages the construction of solar farms on the best and most versatile agricultural land and has withdrawn farm subsidies from land occupied by solar farms. The Government believes that farm subsidies should be targeted at land used for growing food and crops.