Gaywood Farm Solar

GAYWOOD
   FARM
      SOLAR

Protect Staffhurst Wood objections by Gaywood Farm Solar

You may have come across a website recently called https://www.protectstaffhurst.co.uk/ which relates to a planning application for solar panels at Gaywood Farm and I wanted to share with you the thought process I went through before deciding to proceed and correct some of the inaccuracies on that website too.

When we were originally approached, our initial reaction, like many people of our generation, was to say no to having solar panels on our land. I suppose I didn’t really know enough about what it would mean.
 

And then I got to thinking about the problems we’re all experiencing as a result of global warming and rapidly rising fuel costs. I see the new reports on a daily basis about climate change and the need to generate a greater proportion of our electricity from renewable sources. I understand that due to the huge increases in fuel prices even more people are now and will continue to buy electric vehicles.
 

The younger generation are also far more environmentally aware than we ever were and our children and grandchildren are far more likely to opt for an electric vehicle than a gas guzzling 4x4. In fact, according to AA, in the last quarter of 2021 25% of all car sales were electric vehicles.
 

The more I thought and read about it, the more I knew that this was the right thing to do. If everyone has the "Not in My Back Yard" mentality, we’re heading for some real problems in the future. We will all struggle to access sufficient electricity at affordable prices. Clearly there is a very serious Global Energy Crisis.

Therefore, in our view any other decision was, in fact, irresponsible.
 

There are certain material inaccuracies on the website, which are corrected below.

On our farm there is a large Edenbridge substation and the panels will connect onto the existing overhead power line feeding into this substation, which will allow electricity generated from the solar panels to reach the grid in the most efficient way.

We looked very carefully at all the fields around Gaywood Farm and we chose those which are best hidden from view, whichever perspective you look from.
 

The developers have estimated that if we can install solar panels, we will be able to supply electricity to over 8,000 houses.
 

There are also some misleading images…
 

The headline photograph is of our wonderful Staffhurst bluebells and it may make you think that they are under threat. This is not true. The nearest solar panel to Staffhurst Wood will be over a quarter of a mile away. The enjoyment of visitors to Staffhurst Wood during the bluebell season and at any other time of the year is not at risk.

The next photographs allegedly gives you an accurate view of the fields where the solar panels are proposed yet it’s quite misleading as it’s been taken from above eye level.
 

The text is also misleading…
 

Approximately 11 Hectares is in Kent and 12 Hectares in Surrey and the land is not classified as an AONB. 
 

There are already two thick hedges and there will be a significant program of hedge and tree planting undertaken to further minimise the visual impact of the panels and, I might add, to help with the much-needed additional tree growth required in this country. We intend to plant many thousands of Broadleaf trees over the next two years.
 

Following a consultation in Edenbridge  on 20 January the developers have been able to modify the plan; reducing the number of panels and improving the shading of the panels while the landscape architect has made much better use of the terrain to reduce visibility.

 

This land, pre-lockdown, was used as grazing land for the Fordham’s dairy herd. Their dairy herd has since been sold, so they have no need for this land for dairy grazing. They now have a small beef herd that happily graze on another part of our Farm.

In the last few years, we have had sheep on the proposed solar fields and whatever the outcome of the Planning Application sheep will continue to graze on these fields - so it is incorrect to state that the fields will be lost to agriculture.

 

According to a recent article in the National Farmers Union magazine. There are also biodiversity benefits. Some studies have shown that planting the right mix of plants under the Solar Panels helps boost populations of pollinating insects such as bees. In turn, this improves yields of crops in nearby fields, as well as improving green credentials.
 

The promoters of the scheme will also be working with the Edenbridge Town Council to deliver much needed electric charging points for cars in the Market Yard.

Further information and plans will be available on the Sevenoaks District Council Planning website.
 

If you have any questions our email is below and we will do our very best to answer them.
 

The Gaywood Farm Partnership
 

sunnybridge2022@gmail.com