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Solar Farm Will Plough Ahead

Solar Mapperton

7:35am 13th November 2013
(Updated 3:51pm 13th November 2013)

Countryside campaigners say they're "disappointed" after plans were approved for a huge solar farm off the A31.

Good Energy are behind the proposals that will see around 30 solar panels go up over 174 acres on South Dorset MP Richard Drax's Charborough estate and become one of the biggest solar farms in the country.

The Dorset Campaign Group to Protect Rural England (CPRE) says 500 people objected to the proposals which were approved by East Dorset's Planning Committee yesterday (Tuesday 12th November) and the site will blight the countryside.

6 Councillors voted "for" and 6 "against" the Solar Farm and East Dorset Chairman cast the deciding vote in favour.

CPRE Chairman Richard Nicholls is disappointed;

"The real problem is it sets a precedent for the industrialisation of the Dorset countryside, this is a huge development, massive! Now this has gone through it leaves us open to more solar farms right across the county just being given the go ahead."

"We are an organisation that tries to protect the countryside. We're not against solar panels and wind turbines but they have to be in the right place, and this solar farm is totally in the wrong place!."

Good Energy say the new solar farm will generate enough renewable electricity to power around 6,826 homes and they've promised to create wildflower meadows, which they say will; "improve the habitat for pollinating insects and provide a wildlife haven in this predominantly agricultural landscape".

The company will also provide a community fund to support local projects worth a minimum of £25,000 per year for the life of the solar farm, of which £5,000 per year would be specifically for the hamlet of Mapperton.

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