Row over East Midlands Airport solar power plans

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A plan to produce a third of East Midlands Airport's energy with solar power has run into opposition from some nearby residents.

The 10-hectare (25 acre) project is part of plan to make the airport carbon neutral by 2012.

But some locals have complained it would ruin the countryside, use up agricultural land and open the door to further development.

Airport officials said the project was at a very early stage.

They added they planned to meet with residents.

Jim Snee, from nearby Diseworth in Leicestershire, denied any knee-jerk reaction.

Open meeting

He said: "It gives any developer, not just the airport, any developer the chance to build on this land - it is the thin end of a very dangerous and thick wedge.

"The issues here are not just local - in fact the airport are being the 'Nimbys' as they have substantial areas of land on site to build this project, they have loads of roofs and open land and they could contain this on their own land, they don't need to bring it here."

Neil Robinson, director of sustainability at East Midlands Airport, said: "It is very early stages. We have not finalised the design, we have not submitted a planning application, we are just talking to local people about this proposal.

"Any plans we take forward will be subject to planning consent with the local authority."

The airport is holding an open meeting to discuss the plans in Diseworth on 2 March before formal submissions go to North West Leicestershire Council.

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