Huge solar farms planned near Chippenham are dividing communities.

Two parish councils have bucked the trend of objecting to the schemes - by supporting them, despite considerable local opposition.

Eden Renewables has put in a planing application for a 220 acre solar farm at Leigh Delamere - just after it submitted another bid for the 200 acre site at Forest Gate.

Stanton St Quinton Parish Council voted unanimously to oppose the Leigh Delamere application followed by a unanimous rejection from Yatton Keynell parish council.
The Chair of the meeting roundly criticised Eden for their complete failure to engage or consult with anyone in Stanton St Quinton, which is on one of the proposed routes for construction vehicles to access the development site at Leigh Delamere.
Grittleton Parish Council also rejected the application.  Most of the development site is within Grittleton Parish and in Kington St Michael, which voted for the move.
Eden was represented at the meeting by CEO, Harry Lopes.  
One person at the meeting described his performance as: “... a faltering response which addressed none of the issues raised. His approach was to fob us off with appeals to the climate crisis.”
Eden rejected the accusation, with Alec Greenwell, Development Manager, Eden Renewables saying:
"We are pleased that Kington St. Michael recognises the benefits the solar farm will bring to the parish and to Wiltshire, reducing carbon emissions to help tackle the climate emergency and bringing a biodiversity net gain of over 90%, while the land will be able to continue in agricultural use with sheep farming.
“Yatton Keynell raised concerns about archaeology and transport, and we are doing further work on both of these. Panels have already been excluded from the most archaeologically sensitive areas and we will be doing further investigation carrying out trial trenching across the site to ensure there are no other sensitive features."
Meanwhile, Calne Without Parish Council has supported the Forest Gate scheme.
Councillor for Pewsham, John Barnes said:  “It was a tough decision as opinion in the local community is very divided. I do understand the concern that many residents have about impact on the landscape. However, we are facing a climate emergency and urgently need to reduce our dependency on fossil fuels. If we are serious about tackling climate change, we will have to make some hard choices."
Eight other parish councils have written a joint letter to Wiltshire Council demanding action on the proliferation of solar farms in the county, saying urgent planning policy is required for industrial scale solar and battery energy storage system developments.

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald:
Cllr Nick Botterill, Cabinet Member for Strategic Planning and Climate Change said: “The issue of whether the existing policy on standalone renewable energy installations needs to be amended in any way (including the relative balance between brownfield and greenfield provision) is one that will be properly addressed through the forthcoming Wiltshire Local Plan, which will be consulted upon in 2022.”