Harrold Renewable Energy (HARE)
IMPORTANT UPDATE No.4 – August 2015
HARE is sad to report that the planning application for Harrold Community Solar Farm has been refused.
Refusal was solely on the grounds of the quality of the agricultural land being Grade 3a. It was disappointing that the planning officers felt that there was no compelling reason for permission on such land despite (i) it being a community solar farm (it needs therefore to be local and National Planning Policy gives weight to this); (ii) the fact that solar farms across the whole country are expected to use only a quarter of one percent of agricultural land to meet our national targets; and (iii) the dire need to generate more renewable energy as quickly as possible.
The quality of debate at the committee meeting was similarly poor with only one member appearing to have a reasonable grasp of the issues.
So be it.
And finally ... alternative opportunities to progress renewable energy generation and community benefit are being looked at by HARE and thank you to Debadge Design for providing a very good value web site facility which we commend to any other community energy groups - click on their logo on this page for contact details, and feel free to use any text from this site.
Bye for now.
IMPORTANT UPDATE No.3 – MAY 2015
Thank you to everyone who voted yes in the Parish Poll on 30th April. Those who voted (40% of the electorate) were more or less evenly divided (20% Yes, 20% No). This is a great result for a significant village based development and adds weight to HARE's survey findings, the public exhibition responses and other survey work that have showed significant overall majorities in support of Harrold Community Solar Farm.
If you haven't yet been able to write to the Borough Council Planners in support of Harrold Community Solar Farm there is still time (up until around mid-June) and there is value in doing so. You can use the Word document here (add your address, the date, your name and signature and then print it and send it to the Council address in the letter) or you can use the letter's title (Support for Town Farm Solar Farm, 15/00444/MAF), any or all of its text, together with your name and address, in an email to email@example.com.
Please do so (and ask your friends to) as soon as you can, before you forget!
IMPORTANT UPDATE No.2 – APRIL 2015
- Clean and green energy
- £1m for Harrold good causes
- A new 30 acre wildflower meadow
- New hedgerows and footpath
- and much more...
Please get there and Vote Yes ✔ in the Parish Poll, 4pm till 9pm, Thursday, 30th April, at the United Reformed Church (URC).
And if you haven't done so already there's still time to write to the Borough Council to support the planning application – see Important Update No.1 below.
IMPORTANT UPDATE No.1 – MARCH 2015
To All Harrold Residents and Other Interested Parties
The planning application for Harrold Community Solar Farm has been submitted. Now is the time to show your support for it.
The following are the main reasons why 6 to 1 of villagers are in favour of the project:
- It does Harrold's bit to tackle the dangers of Climate Change by generating locally more or less the energy Harrold uses;
- It will provide a massive £1m for Harrold good causes;
- It will be locally owned and managed by Harrold residents;
- It will be a great wildlife site, particularly for birds, with new hedgerows and trees and most of the field involved turned into a wild flower meadow;
- It will provide a good opportunity for local people to invest, with any extra funding required to be provided by a green investment bank.
And just to correct some of the false assertions made by the few who oppose it:
- The income for Harrold good causes equates to nearly £600 per person not £1;
- It will reduce flood risk because of its design features;
- It will not be visible for miles around, but will be well screened, with low profile panels, in an undulating landscape with field patterns preserved;
- The local people working on the project are doing it all unpaid, for the benefit of Harrold;
- It will not affect house prices. There is no evidence for solar farms doing so. It is the most popular renewable energy generating method (80% of people in national surveys say so).
- It will not set a precedent for infill development. It is well away from Harrold and only a temporary permission for a very specific purpose.
- It will be the size of about 17 football pitches not 30 and will be less than 1% of Harrold's overall area.
- Community share offers tend to raise the money needed in half the time we have available.
If you care about Harrold (and the Earth as a whole) please email a brief letter of support to firstname.lastname@example.org quoting the planning application number 15/00444/MAF, mentioning Proposed Harrold Solar Farm and stating your name and address.
And please do this by the 7th April if possible as that is the deadline (or a bit later if you can't quite make that).
PS. Here are some useful planning application documents, perhaps easier to look at here than on the Borough Council web site:
A group of Harrold residents have formed a Community Benefit Society (HARE - Harrold Renewable Energy) to work with the solar farm developer (3C Energy) and the Bath and West Community Energy support organisation (Bath and West Community Energy) to help the proposed solar farm north of Harrold happen as a Community Solar Farm. This is because:
1. Lots of renewable energy generated. The Solar Farm will generate enough electricity for around 1,400 houses without any dangerous climate change effects. Harrold will be doing its bit for the country and the world. The parish has a little over 700 houses so the renewable energy will make up for other local home energy use effects too (from burning gas, oil etc.).
2. Big financial contributions to good, local, community causes. The solar farm should generate well over a million pounds for local causes, chosen by local people.
3. A locally owned Solar Farm run by local people. It will be owned and run by local people who care about Harrold, not sold to a faceless corporate driven exclusively by profit.
4. Big biodiversity gains, especially for birdlife. HARE is looking to get the site designed so that it will help declining bird species recover, accommodate small mammals, amphibians and reptiles, include a pond and provide an opportunity for schools and community involvement, working with local wildlife groups eg. the Bedfordshire Wildlife Trust and RSPB.
5. A good, reliable, financial return for local investors. Local people will be able to buy shares that are expected to reliably earn about 6% interest in part because of fixed Feed in Tariff payments set by Government and in part from export (to the grid) income. There can be tax benefits too.
The project is well on its way but, while there is a lot on this web site already, we will add stuff to it regularly so save it as a 'favourite' and keep in touch. And if you have a question not answered already (check the Q&A page) send it to us by clicking here: