Proposals for new solar farm off land near A30

Marsh green.

Protestors at Marsh Green with Devon CPRE Director Penny Mills - Credit: Sharon Goble

Villagers of Marsh Green in East Devon have made an urgent appeal for help fighting planning permission for a new solar farm.

The Devon branch of the Countryside Charity (CPRE) are helping residents of Marsh Green, a village near Ottery St Mary, fight the proposals.

Planning permission has been submitted for a new solar farm to be built in the parish of Marsh Green, right next to the A30 near Ottery St Mary. Built by Taiyo Power and Storage.

Simon Crowe, Director at Taiyo Power and Storage said: "We are facing a climate and ecological emergency, which can only be tackled through a transition to clean energy, and a restoration of our depleted natural habitats. The Ford Oaks Solar and Green Infrastructure Facility will provide renewable energy for 18,500 homes in the area, as well as significant biodiversity enhancements through the creation of grasslands habitats with species-rich seed mixes, wildflower meadows native to Devon, a mosaic of wetland habitats, and beetle and butterfly banks. In addition, our proposed solar arrays are designed to permit extensive sheep grazing, allowing the continuation of food production on the land in conjunction with the provision of vital clean energy.”

The proposed development will provide renewable energy, enough to power 18,500 homes across the EX5 postcode area.

Alongside the solar farm, a new new woodland, wet meadow, stream and hedgerow ecological habitat and corridor enhancements and landscape planting with also be built.

CPRE (Campaign to Protect Rural England) is helping residents in Marsh Green to fight the proposals.

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CPRE said it would 'destroy' hundreds of acres of productive land and increase the risk of their homes flooding. The charity also said the proposal also includes cutting off the nearby hamlet of Westcott for five days a week during the construction phase to make it easier for heavy goods vehicles to gain access.  

marsh green

a large sign erected by objectors to the proposed Marsh Green solar farm - Credit: Sharon Goble.

Paul Jefferson, chair of Marsh Green Valley Protection Group, said: “This proposal removes the best and most valuable farmland from producing food for the country and that conflicts with Government policy.

"It increases the flood risk within our rural community and the development site is immediately on the outskirts of a small village, very close to homes.

"The local highway infrastructure can’t sustain the HGVs and the number of loads needed during construction. We, as a community, are not against small solar farms, and there are others in the area, but the scale, size and location of this scheme are completely inappropriate.” 

The planning application was submitted by Enzygo Ltd in May and is still awaiting decision  by East Devon District Council.