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Kronos withdraw solar farm application in Shirland

By Lewis Townsend
30th March 2022

We’re pleased to report that Kronos have withdrawn their application for a solar farm and battery storage facility on greenfield in Shirland.

The application was withdrawn on 22nd March 2022, and represents a victory for local campaigners who have been fighting to protect their local green spaces against industrialisation. In particular we ‘d like to acknowledge the Save Alfreton Countryside group for their tireless efforts.

The pastoral landscape on the site in question is, adjacent to a previously rejected site in Alfreton which we also objected to. This greenfield land across Shirland is purported to be of medieval origin, is home to mature trees and hedgerows, and is an important wildlife corridor. It’s also an attractive and popular green space used by locals and walkers.

Our objection

CPRE Derbyshire submitted an objection to the solar farm on 15th February, citing many concerns.

We felt that there had been a lack of community consultation on the development, which we feel is important in exploring any developments at this scale, particularly on cherished greenfield land. Our research suggests that involvement with the local community fell way short of expected best practise.

We also argue that proceeding with this development would have had negative impacts on the landscape character and would have been visible from several well-used local footpaths and from the village of Shirland. There would also be a negative impact on local businesses.

The site is bordered by mature trees and hedgerows which would have been damaged by the development and we do not think enough was done in the proposal to protect the wildlife corridor that exists across the land.

You can read our full opposition report here.

Our stance on renewables

CPRE, the countryside charity is committed to supporting solar energy but will always oppose harmful developments. Solar photovoltaics are an important part of our energy supply in the climate emergency, but building solar farms on large greenfield sites ignores the potential of roof-mounted and brownfield solar developments.

CPRE is a passionate advocate for climate action, and we have clearly stated our support for renewable energy, but the need for energy does not justify damaging developments. We support schemes that minimise landscape impacts, secure real nature recovery opportunities and enjoy the support of local communities. Schemes that fail to meet these expectations, like this one, must be refused.

The location of choice for solar developments has become valuable farmland, ignoring the 250,000 hectares of south-facing commercial roof space (enough to meet half the UK’s electricity demand) not to mention domestic roofs and surface car parks that could be harnessed with little impact on landscape, tranquillity and cultural heritage.

By enabling greenfield solar you are actively courting public opposition to solar energy and putting progress towards net zero at risk.

View across farmland from Shirland towards Alfreton
View across farmland from Shirland towards Alfreton The Roaming Picture Taker / Flickr (CC)