Cornwall’s solar policy needs to be more “thoroughly thought through to work in tandem with the county’s natural resources, landscape and tourism industry”, according to the findings of a new survey.
Undertaken by St Austell-based advanced renewable technology firm Outlook Energy, the survey revealed that while 66% of people in the Duchy believe solar energy can be beneficial, they believe it needs to be managed properly to work with natural habitat.
Over half of those surveyed said they thought solar farms had a negative impact on Cornwall’s natural landscape and could impact on tourism, while 91% believed solar panels would be better suited on the roofs of existing commercial buildings across the county.
… the fact that the majority of people believed solar farms in the county could have a negative impact on our natural landscape should act as a warning
Outlook Energy director, Ross Sundercombe, said the findings of the survey showed that while people are largely supportive of solar installations, the size and locations of them are a cause for concern and one that needs to be listened to.
He said: “Cornwall has the opportunity to be the UK’s leader in solar energy, creating many hundreds of jobs and receiving multi-million pound investment not to mention reducing the impact of rising energy prices by producing our own energy through the power of the sun, but the survey shows that there are very real concerns by people living in the county about the impact of large scale solar farms and the use of green field sites for them.
“In a county which is so heavily reliant on tourism, the fact that the majority of people believed solar farms in the county could have a negative impact on our natural landscape should act as a warning as to how we manage the opportunities that solar energy provides so that it works in tandem with tourism and our natural environment and not potentially against it.”