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Countryside Renewables to Build 5 MW Solar Project
by Staff Writers
London, UK (SPX) Jun 18, 2015

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Countryside Renewables has received planning permission for its 5.0 MW Gonerby Moor solar project in Lincolnshire. The site is located just outside Grantham and is close to the former Great North Road. The project was overwhelmingly approved 12-2 by the South Kesteven District Council Planning Committee on 26 May.

The solar project will have significant public benefits, said John Dunlop, Managing Partner at Countryside Renewables. Man-made climate change is one of the most serious threats this country and the world faces. This project will make a significant local contribution towards combating global climate change through the following:

+ Generate sufficient electricity to power over 1,240 local homes entirely from renewable energy on an annual basis. This represents all of the houses in nearby Allington, Foston and Great Gonerby Parishes.

+ Provide CO2 savings over a 30-year lifetime of 65,000 tonnes, the equivalent of taking 1,200 cars off of the road.

+ Pay approximately Pounds 20,000 in annual business rates to the local council, which is Pounds 600,000 over a 30-year project lifetime.

Denis Gross, Partner at Countryside Renewables, said that the project has been designed to have negligible visual impact and no landscape impact. Only 1% of the land will be pierced by the pile-driven posts and no concrete footings will be used.

It will provide biodiversity enhancements to the land by offering a greater variety of habitat to flora and fauna. This is particularly important to Lincolnshire, which the Environment Agency and others say has experienced more significant loss of biodiversity than much of the UK.

Jeff Thompson, the landowner, stated "This puts the field into productive use as I have never known a good crop on this field yet. I also welcome the project from a farm business diversification perspective, with the chance to continue to use the field for sheep grazing."

The National Farmers' Union (NFU) explicitly supported the project, pointing out that the 25 acres used by the project are low-yielding, grade 3b land and represent only 0.0021 percent of the agricultural land in Lincolnshire.

This clearly demonstrates that comments by Liz Truss, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), regarding solar projects threatening British food security, are misleading. Her statements continue to be at odds with the facts and with the NFU, Country Land and Business Association (CLA) and DEFRA's own CAP Direct Payments Team, who have demonstrated that solar farms have a negligible impact on UK agricultural output.

Countryside Renewables specialises in developing and financing large-scale solar projects in the UK. The Gonerby Moor project marks further progress in Countryside Renewables' pipeline of large-scale solar projects.

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