Solar Energy at Wickham Hall

Vital Opportunity Missed   

You wouldn’t think that we were facing an acute fuel crisis and a devastating climate crisis given the decision by UDC to refuse permission to the Wickham Hall solar energy scheme.

Surely the war in Ukraine has made us realise the urgency of ensuring a secure energy supply; of doing everything we can to bring energy prices back down, to address fuel poverty and play our part in reaching net zero.

At the moment we are heading to 3.2 degrees of warming by the end of the century. That is not survivable. The environmental systems we depend on will have broken down well before that point. Surely it is time to put our children’s survival and the survival of our species above temporary blots on the landscape?

The chosen site is no beauty spot. It has already been blotted by an electricity substation, strings of pylons and the A120. It would not have challenged the Green Belt as solar farms do not cause urban sprawl or coalescence. So if this site isn’t chosen, what other sites have UDC identified that could produce 50 million watts of electricity, enough to power 15,000 homes?

Solar farms can be temporary installations. Permission can be granted for 25 years, after which time the land can revert to agricultural use in a far better state. After only a couple of years lying fallow on a well-managed solar farm, biodiversity starts to return, plants sequester carbon, micro-organisms return life to the soil and soil structure is enriched for future food production. We desperately need ‘win-wins’ like these!

Come on, UDC. We are facing multiple emergencies. It is time to pull every lever at our disposal if we are to get out of the messes we have created.


Edward Gildea

Uttlesford Green Party



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