Plymouth community up in arms over Ernesettle solar farm plans

A proposed solar farm plan for a Plymouth field in Ernesettle has left some residents' concerned
-Credit: (Image: Westward Shipping News)


A solar farm plan for Plymouth is causing a stir in Ernesettle. The idea has been largely opposed by many of the community - because of the greenfield location it’s being proposed for.

Planned for grazing land off Ernesettle Lane, the land is currently rented by a Plymouth woman who’s kept several elderly and rescue horses there for the last ten years. The Plymouth field is also a “significant nature site” and a public consultation is currently underway.

The site is owned by Plymouth City Council, but managed by Four Greens Community Trust who say they will “carefully consider feasibility” for the solar farm, which is at pre-application stage. No formal planning application has yet been submitted.

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Debbie White, born and bred in Ernesettle, currently rents the field for her horses. The 56-year-old is campaigning against the solar farm development and says many other locals say they support her view.

She said: “Our field has such a great biodiversity of wildlife and plants .We have deer, badgers, foxes, stoats and slow worms that call it home, plus numerous birds including the rare mistle thrush.

“Daily we get a bus of children that stop and look at the horses before they go to school. Local residents stop and look at the horses and the wildlife and they take in the stunning views over the River Tamar.

“We are not against solar panels , only putting them on green fields when in our local area we have many brown sites they can go on. We are worried about where nature, and the horses will go if the solar farm plan goes ahead.”

A proposal for a solar farm on one of Plymouth's remaining fields has left many in the riverside community worried
A proposal for a solar farm on one of Plymouth's remaining fields has left many in the riverside community worried -Credit:Westward Shipping News

Debbie has started a petition against the development of the field. Other locals say there is already a “large expanse of solar panels on the skyline already” in the Ernesettle and Tamerton Foliot area.

Johnny Mercer, Conservative candidate for Plymouth Moor View also opposes the plan. He said: "I'm deeply concerned by pre-planning discussions about installing a solar farm in an idyllic horse paddock and a significant nature site off Ernesettle Lane. I will not support any application which attempts to panel over valued local assets and disregard residents' genuine concerns.”

Fred Thomas, Labour candidate for Plymouth Moor View, added: “I live in the constituency and I know that my neighbours and friends here feel we often get the short end of the stick. I have met with residents to talk about the proposed solar panels. The community in Ernesettle values this green space hugely, people come here and walk their dogs and enjoy family time. While I support work for renewable energy in general, I am concerned that the once again we are not getting our fair share. As an MP, I will always champion the community, where I am proud to live.”

A spokesperson from the Four Greens Board - who manage the land - said: “Four Greens Community Trust has been working with Plymouth Energy Company on the feasibility of siting a solar farm on land in Ernesettle that it has management responsibility for.

"And as part of this process a public consultation is being undertaken and all the feedback is being collated and will be reviewed at our board meeting. We have been made aware of many differing views about the proposed project and will carefully consider them as part of the process.”

You can view Debbie's petition against the solar farm development in Ernesettle here.

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