Agriculture: Solar Power

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered at on 23 May 2024.

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Photo of Baroness Hodgson of Abinger Baroness Hodgson of Abinger Conservative

To ask His Majesty's Government what steps they will take to ensure that prime farmland is not downgraded to allow the construction of solar farms.

Photo of Lord Benyon Lord Benyon The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)

The Government has laid a written ministerial statement about our plans for solar power whilst protecting our food security and Best and Most Versatile (BMV) agricultural land (defined as land in grades 1, 2 and 3a of the Agricultural Land Classification). This can be found here.

In particular, it sets out that the Government has heard concerns about the perceived inaccuracy and unfairness of soil surveys undertaken as part of the planning process for solar development. The Government will address this by supporting independent certification by an appropriate certifying body, subject to relevant business case approval, to ensure Agricultural Land Classification Soil Surveys are of a high standard, requiring surveyors to demonstrate meeting an agreed minimum requirement of training/experience.

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