Green light for controversial Vale of Belvoir solar farm plan
The planning committee voted to permit the scheme, which would cover eight agricultural fields in the Long Clawson and Stathern areas, at a meeting last night (Thursday).
The council had received nearly 250 objections from local people opposed to the project, which they said would negatively impact wildlife, the quality of life of nearby residents and spoil an area of natural beauty.
There were also concerns that it would detract from views across the Vale and be visible from significant heritage sites such as Belvoir Castle.
But councillors felt the green benefits of the scheme, in providing energy for about 15,000 homes, will outweigh the potential negatives.
After the meeting, Councillor Pam Posnett, chair of planning, said: “Members of the planning committee gave careful consideration to the benefits and the
potential disadvantages of this proposal.
"While no solar farm of this size can ever not have an impact in some for or other, in this particular case we weighed up how the development would minimise its impact on the landscape, on neighbouring heritage assets, on the loss of lower grade agricultural land, on highways and Public Rights of Way Network, and on ecology.
"The committee was also mindful of the fact that Melton Borough Council has declared a climate emergency and is working hard to ensure that we can achieve the ambitious target of net zero in carbon emissions by 2030.
"On balance the committee found that the development would be an important contribution to replacing energy from fossil fuels by this renewable alternative.”