Solar proposal

SIR - Other readers have probably thought of my reaction to Ian Barlow’s suggestion (Sidmouth Herald front page, Friday, May 11) for dealing with the impact on the surroundings of his interesting proposal for a development around his garden centre.

But, instead of painting the roofs green, why not cover them with (subsidised?) monocrystalline photovoltaic panels?

They would provide more than enough electricity during the day to fuel the whole complex and feed enough back to the grid to pay for the dark hours and provide a surplus to supply several buildings elsewhere.

From a distance the visual impact would be no worse than that of the solar farms encouraged in other parts of Devon and the rest of the country and, along with wind turbines, applications for permission should be presented as temporary measures to meet the fuel crisis while all the problems with sea power are being mastered.

Movements in the sea will be with us, day and night, for as long as we have a sun and a moon.

The whole world would benefit from that and, patently, we are all on the same side in this matter. If we collected together all the appropriately expert scientists and engineers, as we did for Globe Alloys, we could optimistically expect to solve all the foreseeable difficulties in a shorter time than it took to produce a workable atom bomb.

A solar powered site near the garden centre could have other benefits, too. What about a modern service station for vehicles with electric or hydrogen power requiring charged batteries or hydrogen gas produced by electrolysis?

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Or a park-and-ride facility for visitors to the town, perhaps on a short break on their way further west? Such an area might also provide an opportunity to rid Sidmouth of clumsy pantechnicons by requiring them to offload deliveries for our shops onto smaller vans.

Although it’s late to mention it now, it could also have included a convenient recycling site. Any schemes of that kind would be helped by having a good roundabout at the junction with the main road.

Just a few of those features might also attract more visitors to the region as an alternative energy site to compete with Llanwern near Machynlleth.

Peter Wyatt

Livonia Road, Sidmouth