What would King John make of solar panels being built on his route from Windsor to Winchester?
John was King of England at the time of the Magna Carta in the 13th Century and made journeys along the Three Castles Path, which passes through Ascot Racecourse.
Plans have been submitted for a Solar Farm with 22,000 panels in over 22 hectares comprising agricultural land adjacent to Godsfield Copse on the outskirts of Old Alresford, some 10 miles from Winchester.
The quandary for environmentalists is that solar energy will contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Government published a new plan in December for at least a 68% reduction in emissions by the end of the decade, compared to 1990 levels.
It is however a greenfield site and Godsfield Copse, located immediately to the north-west of the site, is a Site of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINC), on account of its ancient semi-natural woodland and because it supports hazel dormice. It is therefore assessed as having local ecological importance.
The proposal has sparked much local interest including Alan Titchmarsh who has written to Winchester City Council to object saying that brownfield sites should be developed without affecting public amenities and areas of natural beauty that are valuable for both wildlife and human health and well-being.
The Council is targeting April to determine the application.
Winchester City Council 20/02832/FUL | Full planning permission for the construction of a temporary 11.77MW Solar Farm with transformers, a substation, security fence and gate (incorporating infra-red beam system) and other associated i… | Land Adjacent Godsfield Copse Godsfield Lane Old Alresford Hampshire (winchester.gov.uk)
Government press release UK sets ambitious new climate target ahead of UN Summit – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)