Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Fareham solar farm met with opposition from councillors

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Media captionThe solar farm will also be able to provide grazing land for animals

Plans for a £40m solar panel farm in Hampshire have met with opposition from local councillors.

German firm ib vogt GmbH wants to install 200,000 solar panels on 58 hectares of agricultural land in Fareham.

It says the farm would provide electricity to more than 13,500 homes for up to 25 years.

But some local councillors say it would be an eyesore and the site is too close to the HMS Daedalus airfield.

Councillor Sean Woodward, Conservative leader of the council, said it would create a safety risk as the area is required for pilots needing to somewhere safe to land in the event of a fault with their aircraft.

Clean energy

He said: "The opportunities that are being presented to a pilot in trouble is that they have to make a choice within a few seconds as to where they are going to land.

Image caption The site where solar farm could be built is currently open farm land

"If their choices are reduced to a sewage works and residential housing, then obviously that' a difficulty."

Conservative councillor Kay Mandry said: "They said 'well, we're going to put hedges around it', but that's going to take some time to happen. It's going to take some time to grow, it's not going to be done in a year, or two years.

"It's quite a big expanse of solar panels that you will be looking at for some time."

Natalie Bennett, leader of the Green Party, visited the site earlier to give her party's support and defend the plans.

She said: "What we're talking about here is a very clean form of energy.

"Solar rays, the ground being planted with wild flowers, sheep grazing on it. It's really not that unpleasant a prospect."

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