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‘Our old way of life will be gone forever’: The tenant farmers targeted by solar developers

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Just 0.1% of farmland is currently taken by solar panels – similar to the area claimed by Christmas trees (says Sky). But if solar developers get their way, backed by climate-obsessed politicians, tenant farmers could be facing a fate like the notorious Highland clearances when crofters were forcibly evicted from their smallholdings to make way for sheep farming. Goodbye to the bother of rent collection, hello bigger profits.
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It’s a frosty morning on Kidsley Farm in Derbyshire, a rare thing in this unusually warm winter, says Sky News.

Andrew Dakin’s beef herd is housed in the old brick barns, their breath steaming in the chill air. Alongside scuttling chickens and tractors of varying vintages, this is the very image of a traditional farmyard.

But for how long? Andrew is a tenant farmer and his landlord, who owns the land, wants to turn his pasture into a solar farm.

“Our old way of life will be gone forever. And I’ve worked on this farm all my life, seven days a week. I’ve not been on holiday since I was 15. Not because I didn’t want to, but I like being here on the farm.”

His family has worked the land here for 94 years. His mother still lives with him in the farmhouse. Although he would be allowed to stay in his home and is being offered some compensation, with the grazing replaced by photovoltaic panels, the job would be gone.

“It’ll all be fenced off with 10ft-high deer fencing. I think solar panels have got a part to play on house roofs, factory roofs and brownfield sites.”

But both political parties have huge ambitions for solar: the government wants five times as much power from the sun by 2035 and delivering that without touching farmland is implausible according to many experts, including Chris Hewett from Solar Energy UK.

Full article here.


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