MP for Thirsk and Malton meets with Environment Secretary George Eustice to talk about planned solar farms in Ryedale area

MP for Thirsk and Malton, Kevin Hollinrake, met with Environment Secretary George Eustice, to raise the ongoing issue of planned solar farms on farmland in his constituency at Eden Farm, Old Malton and Peter Hill, Husthwaite.

By Duncan Atkins
Thursday, 10th March 2022, 9:32 am
Updated Thursday, 10th March 2022, 9:34 am

Mr Hollinrake said Mr Eustice had agreed to take up the concerns raised with Michael Gove and the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities and in the Tenancy Working Group.

"Although supportive of renewable energy and reducing our reliance on imports of fossil fuels, I stressed my very strong concerns about these proposed developments on the landscape, our ability to feed the nation and fair compensation for tenant farmers," he said.

"Mr Eustice was sympathetic to the issues I relayed, that a lack of sufficient compensation to tenant farmers and the fact although planning policy is very clear, that large-scale solar should not be located on best and most versatile land.

MP for Thirsk and Malton, Kevin Hollinrake (right) with Environment Secretary George Eustice.

"This condition is potentially being undermined by local councils declaring climate emergencies and making this a material consideration when determining an application.

"The use of non-agricultural development provisions in the context of tenanted farms is also urgently in need of reform as the compensation levels for farmers driven off their land is derisory, while the financial opportunity for the landowner is very large.

"I am therefore pleased Mr Eustice has agreed to take these matters up with Michael Gove."

Mr Hollinrake hopes to provide further updates as soon as possible.