Agriculture: Land

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered at on 27 February 2024.

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Photo of Neil Hudson Neil Hudson Conservative, Penrith and The Border

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if his Department will make an assessment of the potential impact of solar farms on the availability of agricultural land.

Photo of Rebecca Pow Rebecca Pow The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Solar and farming can be complementary, and the Government encourages deployment of solar technology that delivers environmental co-benefits, with consideration for ongoing food production.

The Government recognises the need to preserve our most productive farmland as far as possible. The recently published and updated National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) sets out that planning policies and decisions should contribute to and enhance the natural and local environment by recognising the intrinsic character and beauty of the countryside, including the economic and other benefits of the best and most versatile agricultural land.

Where significant development of agricultural land is demonstrated to be necessary, areas of poorer quality land should be preferred to those of a higher quality. The availability of agricultural land used for food production should be considered, alongside the other policies in the NPPF, when deciding what sites are most appropriate for development.

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