SOLAR farms have won the official support of Oxfordshire County Council experts following a raft of new plans.

The authority has had to clarify its position on “solar farms” after having to deal with 30 planning applicants in the last year.

Oxford City Council and district councils make the final decision but the county council is consulted over issues which it has responsibility for such as Oxfordshire’s highway network and its rights of way.

County deputy director for strategy and infrastructure planning Bev Hindle, said: “In view of the benefits of solar PV development in helping to reduce carbon emissions, reduce reliance on fossil fuels and provide local energy security as well as its contribution to creating jobs in the local economy, the county council should support the development of solar PV development in principle. However, this support should be subject to there being no significant environmental or visual impacts.”

Plans were lodged last year for 1,833 acres of solar panels. They included a 230-acre solar farm at Landmead Farm near East Hanney.

But critics like the Campaign to Protect Rural England warned the plans ruin the countryside. Cabinet member for the environment David Nimmo Smith will make a final decision on Thursday.

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