Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Food or electricity? Angus ‘bread basket’ communities fight back as solar farm plans progress

Post Thumbnail

Fertile farmland in Angus could soon be covered over with solar panels – but should the global food crisis force a rethink?

Members of a community just south of Forfar think it should.

Local resident Mrs Shanks describes the Angus region as “the bread basket of Scotland”.

And she says arable fields near her home should be reserved for food production at a time when Ukraine, known as the bread basket of Europe, is in crisis.

The residents who oppose the solar farm.
The residents who oppose the solar farm.

“These fields, in the 30 years I have lived in our house, have been agricultural fields,” she says.

“They’re high yield crop fields.”

But the fields just metres from her home could soon be covered in solar panels.

A company called Industria Resources has lodged plans for a 30 megawatt solar farm near the village of Kingsmuir.

“This is not the right place,” she adds.

Mrs Shanks is one of a group of residents who are opposing the proposed solar farm.

They plan to form a local action group to make sure their voices are heard.

And they have distributed leaflets in the area to make residents aware of the plans.

They are also raising awareness of a national petition aiming to protect farmland amid a growing number of solar developments.

The plans

Industria Resources wants to cover nearly 150 acres of farmland with solar panels.

The plans for the Cotton of Lownie development are in the early stages.

Solar panels would be installed over three fields – two smaller ones west of the B9128 and a large field to the east of the road linking Forfar and Carnoustie.

Livestock would still be able to graze in the fields while the panels are in place.

And Angus Council planners say “any impacts as a result of construction and decommissioning would be temporary”.

But the loss of land for crops is just one of the residents’ concerns.

They also raise issues including road safety and impact on health, and claim the developer has not engaged adequately with the community.

Mrs Shanks adds: “I can stress that none of us is anti-solar farms if they’re in the right place.

“Solar is necessary, but not at the cost of prime arable land, and provided other safety issues are correctly addressed.”

Meanwhile, at Berryhill

About 20 miles east of Cotton of Lownie, residents are also worried about the impact of a proposed a solar farm.

The controversial Berryhill development is currently in the hands of a Scottish Government reporter.

On July 5, the reporter handling the case will carry out a site visit as he considers the proposal.

Solar2 is appealing Angus councillors’ decision to reject its plans to cover arable land with 152,000 solar panels.

A spokesperson for SPARE (Save and Protect the Angus Rural Environment) Berryhill also raised the issue of food security.

He said the group is “concerned about the loss of good land for food production”.

A third major solar farm proposal recently entered the planning process.

Renewable Connections has submitted a proposal of application notice for Montreathmont Forest, south of Brechin.

The site they are looking at is farmland surrounded on all sides by the woodland.

At 42 megawatts, this proposal is nearly the same size as the one at Berryhill.

Are residents’ worries justified?

Factors driving global food supplies are complex.

As a result, the experts we spoke to were unable to give a definitive answer.

But Dr Alexandra Morel, an ecosystem scientist at Dundee University, said the issue raised questions.

She said replacing productive agricultural land with solar panels “would seem to be an unfortunate choice”.

One of the fields at the Lownie site.
One of the fields at the Lownie site.

However she said using less productive land could have a “net benefit”.

“I do not know the extent to which Scottish farmers could make a difference in the specific case of wheat production from Ukraine.

“But I do agree that decisions made around the use of productive land should be thinking about these issues.”

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]

Conversation

[[title_reg]]

Please enter the name you would like to appear on your comments. (It doesn’t have to be your real name - but nothing rude please, we are a polite bunch!) Use a combination of eight or more characters that includes an upper and lower case character, and a number.

By registering with [[site_name]] you agree to our Terms and Conditions and our Privacy Policy

Or sign up with

Facebook Google

[[content_reg_complete]]

[[title_login]]

Or login with

Forgotten your password?

[[title]]