Solar Power: Arable Farming

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 25th November 2015.

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Photo of Nick Smith Nick Smith Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what estimate she has made of the area of land occupied by solar panel arrays that was previously arable land usable for economically farmed fruits or vegetables.

Photo of George Eustice George Eustice The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Data held by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/solar-photovoltaics-deployment), suggests that as at June 2015 there were 432 Renewables Obligation (RO) ground mounted solar installations across all land use types compared to 227 at the same point in 2014, an increase of 90% in a single year.

Earlier this year, planning authorities received clarification from government about how to consider applications for siting solar panel arrays on our Best and Most Versatile (BMV) agricultural land in order to help protect our long-term productive capacity.

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