Shropshire farmers should explore diversification schemes

In the current climate, it’s difficult to know whether it’s a good time to diversify and use land for ground-based solar PV.

Megan Price
Megan Price

Landowners and farmers could be forgiven for putting plans for alternative use of agricultural land on hold in recent months.

With so many changes both in the country’s leadership causing uncertainty around rural agendas and revolving Ministers running departments, planning for the long-term has been equally necessary and impossible.

Former PM Liz Truss had signalled an intention to ban solar energy from farmland. Her reasoning? Food security.

But many farmers and landowners know that not all agricultural land is suitable for growing crops, with livestock at least able to graze in between solar panels.

Many of our clients are members of the Country Land and Business Associations (CLA) which is currently campaigning for clarity on future policies over ground based solar.

Members are already facing uncertainly over future farming subsidies, although DEFRA has promised an update in the near future.

Our advice to clients is to continue to explore diversification schemes which can add revenue streams and seek professional advice around the terms and conditions of land use for renewable schemes.

Although none of us has a crystal ball, rising energy prices have focused the general public’s consciousness over climate change and when the voters raise the issue on the doorstep, policies which address these are usually not too far behind.

n Megan Price is a solicitor within the Agricultural & Rural Services Team, specialising in land and rural property law.

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