Tory environment group criticises PM Liz Truss over farmland solar energy plan | UK News
The director of the influential Conservative Environment Network has told Sky News the prime minister’s plan to ban solar panels from farmland is “disproportionate” and risks being “damaging to investor confidence in an energy crisis”.
Liz Truss has said she believes solar panels should not be placed on land that could be used for livestock or crops to boost food production and security.
But Sam Hall told Sky News, there is “clearly some localised concern about solar developments that needs to be addressed”.
He continued: “But blocking the vast majority of the current solar pipeline feels like a disproportionate response and damaging to investor confidence in an energy crisis.
“Solar on less productive agricultural land supports food security by diversifying farmers’ incomes and making farm businesses more resilient.”
The Conservative Environment Network has more than 150 Tory MP members, and it is relatively unusual for the organisation to directly contradict the prime minister in such a way.
It describes itself as “an independent forum for conservatives in the UK and around the world who support net zero, nature restoration and resource security”.
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The group join the National Trust and the RSPB, among others, who are concerned about some of the new government’s policies on planning and deregulation and how they might affect the battle against climate change.
The intervention comes as the chief executive of industry trade body Solar Energy UK Chris Hewett appealed to the government not to go through with its plans.
He told the Financial Times newspaper: “If the plan were implemented, it would threaten 30GW-plus of projects currently being scoped for the second half of the decade – this could be over £20bn of capital investment into the UK energy sector.”