CHURCHOVER residents are campaigning against a renewable energy company that wants to develop nearby land – for the third time in five years.
Hive Energy has announced plans to build a solar park at School Farm next to the A5 that, they claim, could power up to 3,600 homes and prevent 5,160 tonnes of CO2 emissions each year.
But campaign group Against Subsidised Windfarms Around Rugby (Aswar) has asked Rugby Borough Council to delay considering the application until after the summer holiday period, to allow locals to register their opinions.
Writing to the council, Aswar coordinator Lorne Smith said: “If our experience with the two previous renewable energy speculators is anything to go by, then Hive Energy are likely to put in their application during a holiday period so as to make objecting to it as difficult as possible.
“We therefore ask you, should you receive the application during August, to put it on-hold until at least September before you consider triggering registration and the timescale within which the community can object.”
He added: “At a time when food security has seldom been more important, it would be reckless to allow a greed for subsidies to override the need to produce food on 60 acres of prime agricultural land.”
He said he was encouraged by Energy Minister Greg Barker’s recent pledge to scrap subsidies that have driven the spread of large solar farms across Britain, saying they must not become “the new onshore wind”.
Two large windfarms have been proposed in the area in the last five years, both of which were refused planning permission by the borough council.
Hugh Brennan, managing director of Hive Energy, said: “When we’re creating a solar park, it’s really important for us to strike a balance between creating energy, with local people, wildlife and agriculture.
“As well as making clean energy for thousands of homes, the site would include a host of features to help incorporate it into the landscape, to encourage biodiversity, and to create outdoor learning areas and other facilities for people to benefit from.
“And as part of being a good neighbour, we also want to hear ideas for deserving projects in the local community we could financially support.”
Visit www.hiveenergy.co.uk/school-farm for more information about the proposal.