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Lime Down Solar Park

Anne Henshaw
By Anne Henshaw
10th April 2024

CPRE totally oppose this application for a huge solar farm near Malmesbury.  It would be one of the biggest in the UK.  We shall be submitting comments throughout the process to the applicants and subsequently to the Planning Inspectorate.  We have already engaged with many people who are objecting to the proposal and are supporting James Gray MP who is fighting against it.

The application is going through a process called an NSIP – a Nationally Strategic Infrastructure Project.  This process, introduced in 2008 and strengthened in April 2024, following  government consultation in Autumn 2023, is designed to be more complicated and less available for democratic input.

Lime Down Solar Park is yet another proposal for generation of energy in north Wiltshire.  Wiltshire already makes a huge contribution to solar power generation. Of the 10 largest solar parks in England, 8 are in our county (Lyneham, Wroughton, Minety, Forest Gate, Leigh Delamere, Kemble, Studley, Snarlton); and there are a great many more just slightly smaller. The Council’s 2030 carbon neutral target for solar renewables is 590MW, which has already been exceeded (827MW – enough to power 500,000 homes is in production or planning.) We have 42 Operational Solar Farms with a further 12 under planning or construction, nearly all in the north of the County. They cover 3000 acres which is more than any other county in England.

This cumulative increase in sites could happen almost anywhere due to the present government approach to solar farms and the subsequent Council decisions which need to follow government guidance unless exceptional circumstances indicate otherwise.

It is not only the magnitude of numbers of arrays but the accompanying BESS (Battery Energy Storage Systems) units which are the essential part of solar farm developments. These BESS have the appearance of metal shipping containers with ventilation units for cooling, and are supported by ancillary infrastructure which include Inverter/Transformer stations, auxiliary transformers, all located within secure compounds surrounded by high weldmesh fence with CCTV security cameras.  Proximity of any dwelling would require a high acoustic fence.

They require to be situated close to an existing substation. These installations turn a rural area into an industrial one and satisfactory mitigation unproven as there are no examples of the outcome as yet.

Read more about this proposal here.

A campaign group “Stop Lime Down Solar Park” has been formed.  You can read about this and sign their petition here.

One of Wiltshire's smaller solar farms