A planned solar farm on over 50 hectares of Herefordshire farmland would “damage an extraordinary landscape for decades to come”, a local group as claimed.

SABRE (Save Acton Beauchamp’s Rural Environment), which was set up last December, says the plan for near the village, southeast of Bromyard, would hit the environment, biodiversity and food security in “one of the most beautiful parts of east Herefordshire”.

“The development, were it to go ahead, would see industrial-scale solar panels constructed on high-quality agricultural land which currently supports sustainable food production for UK markets,” the group said in a statement.


The planned 20MW array, on an area “four times bigger than the nearest village of Bishop’s Frome” and ringed by 3-metre-high fencing, would “dominate and change, possibly for ever, the historic and agricultural landscape”, it said.

Given its scale and potential impact, Herefordshire Council had said the proposal should be subject to an environmental impact assessment (EIA).

But the developer, Sintons End Solar Farm Ltd, successfully appealed against this to local government secretary Michael Gove MP, who ruled last month that the scheme was “unlikely to have significant effects on the environment”.


This was despite submissions backing the original EIA decision from SABRE as well as the council.

The group said Mr Gove’s intervention “has completely overridden the expertise of the council and hampered a thorough investigation of the environmental impact” of the scheme.

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SABRE chair Katherine Smith said: “When food security is as great a threat to this country as energy security, we cannot imagine why this development is being pursued on valuable agricultural land rather than the roofs of industrial and farm buildings, brownfield sites and other less environmentally sensitive areas.

“It is a clear example of putting profit over common sense.”

A full planning application for the scheme is yet to come forward.