British farmers disaster as they’re booted off land in solar energy drive | UK | News | EUROtoday

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British farmers are being kicked off their land in a drive for extra solar energy, the top of the National Farmers Union (NFU) has warned.

Minette Batters, the outgoing president of the union, made the remarks throughout a debate on the Hay Literary Festival on Tuesday, and launched a passionate assault on how large-scale photo voltaic farms are being constructed and its impression on farmers, insisting “there’s a huge amount not to like”.

Responding to a query from an viewers member who voiced considerations in regards to the improve in huge photo voltaic farms protecting a number of sq. miles of land, she lamented “horrific examples” the place tenant farmers are dropping their land as a consequence of enormous photo voltaic schemes so landowners can make more cash, MailOnline stories.

Batters mentioned whereas traders, together with non-public fairness companies and abroad financiers, are in a position to snap up giant chunks of rural land, this development will proceed, as she warned the nation is “up for sale.”

She urged the subsequent authorities to prioritise a brand new land technique, which supplies protections to conventional farming and correctly acknowledges its financial worth.

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“We are selling off land to people who don’t pay their taxes here,” she mentioned. “It does have to change.”

Batters mentioned whereas she may perceive opposition to photo voltaic farms, she additionally has sympathy for farmers selecting to money in on initiatives of this type, and choosing a assured, index-linked revenue.

She mentioned: “You can understand at the moment, from a farmer’s perspective… £1,200 a hectare (per year), index-linked, locked in for 20 years, what’s not to like?

“For all people else, there’s an enormous quantity to not like. This is the difficulty with a photo voltaic farm. There will probably be one beneficiary.”

Batters said in some “horrific” cases, farmers who are tenants of larger landowners have been forced to leave their farms, making way for solar sites.

She called for action over the way land ownership by high net-worth investors is being allowed to proliferate, citing the debt-fuelled take over of supermarket giant Morrisons.

“We noticed what occurred with Morrisons. We won’t have a British-owned grocery store in 10 years,” she said, adding that private equity has now moved into land.

Batters stressed the importance of “a significant land use technique” that would see a value given to land used for traditional farming and new developments including solar and housing.

She said the government should help to promote solar being installed on rooftops over land, and expand the use of wind turbines, the outlet reports.

Large-scale onshore wind farms were under a de facto ban until last year, though wind turbines are permitted on a small scale.

“The Conservatives know the way divisive this (photo voltaic) is. You noticed Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss saying we will cease placing photo voltaic on land and put it on rooftops,” Batters said.

“Farmers ought to have the ability to present (electrical energy from) photo voltaic and wind generators – photo voltaic on rooftops. I actually hope Labour (implements this)… with their plans for GB Energy.”

She said she had “actual doubts” about the opposition party’s proposed state-owned energy company as the plans are “uncosted”, but said they “have to do it.”

Almost 500 photo voltaic farms are dotted across the nation, with Shotwick Park, in Flintshire, North Wales, at the moment the most important – protecting 250 acres – however it could be be miniscule compared to the proposed Botley West photo voltaic farm.

It is deliberate for 3 websites in Oxfordshire which might cowl 2,471-acres on land owned by Blenheim Palace, however is awaiting planning consent, whereas one other 2,500 acre photo voltaic farm has been proposed on the Cambridgeshire-Suffolk border.

The Labour Party and No 10 have been approached for remark.