Wiltshire Wildlife Trust to run solar farm

Wiltshire Wildlife Trust is to run a solar energy company.

The Trust is hoping local people and businesses will buy shares in the newly-formed Wiltshire Wildlife Community Energy.

It plans to operate a solar farm on land next to its reserve at Blakehill Farm near Cricklade.

The Trust needs to raise £500,000 to pay for solar panels which will generate enough electricity to power the equivalent of 200 homes.

The share offer opened at 07:00 BST and is due to close on 15 September.

Some 500,000 shares - 50% of the company - are being offered at £1 per share with a minimum of 500 shares per investor and a maximum of 20,000.

Each member will receive one vote regardless of the amount invested.

The land where the solar farm will be built - formerly a Ministry of Defence military base - was bought by the Trust in 2000.

"The site is not part of the main reserve so it's suitable for purpose," said Steve Webb the Trust's fundraising officer.

"It was an airfield during the war so there's concrete underfoot and it's semi-industrial."

Planning permission for the solar farm was approved on 16 April.

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