'We were horrified' - fears huge solar farm will damage Devon countryside

  • Watch Bob Cruwys' report

People living near fields which could become home to the largest solar farm in Devon say they are "horrified" by the proposals.

Plans for the huge solar farm at Langford, near Cullompton, have been recommended for approval.

If given the green light, the solar farm would be bigger than any built in Devon so far.

It would see 91,000 solar panels built across 17 different fields, with the site spanning 61 hectares and surrounded by a four-mile long fence.

The firm behind it says large-scale solar farms are needed to reduce emissions in the UK.

But local opposition to the scheme is being backed by Devon Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), which says the proposal is unacceptable because of its adverse impact on the landscape.

Local residents at Langford have opposed the solar farm plans Credit: ITV WESTCOUNTRY

Local resident Jan Jones told ITV News West Country: "We were horrified, absolutely horrified.

"We are not anti-solar power at all, you know. We all know we need sustainable energy but it was just the size of it and just the impact on the countryside... which I am passionate about.

"Devon is a beautiful county and it is going to be industrialised by these solar panels."

Developers say the site has been well chosen Credit: ITV WESTCOUNTRY

The developers insist the agricultural land which has been chosen for the solar farm is of moderate to poor quality for farming and it will still be able to be used as sheep can graze under the panels.

Conor McAllister, from JBM Solar, said large-scale solar farms are needed to meet the UK's 'net zero' target, which aims to cut greenhouse gas emissions to “at least 100%” below 1990 levels by 2050.

He said: "I guess it will always be the case that there will always be a certain number of people on any scheme where they don't want it in their back yard but unfortunately we do need to bring schemes like this forward.

"We always work as closely as possible with those concerned members of the community."

The solar farm has been recommended for approval but Mid Devon Council's planning committee has voted to defer its decision until after members have had a chance to visit the site.

Because of Covid-19 restrictions, a site visit cannot happen until after the 17 May.

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