Hedge removal at Southill Solar

Tim Crisp
👍 3

Mon 26 Feb, 11:21

Great feature on hedge laying on The Food Programme this weekend, repeated this afternoon at 3.30pm, using poetry to connect farming and food. The Lig by Testament https://youtu.be/4_GdPvWsW34?si=HVE-kcK7BtE7TIAR

Helen Josephine Wright
👍 8

Fri 23 Feb, 21:52

I thoroughly enjoyed talk by Anne Miller at Charlbury Wildlife on Tuesday. It covered the way the area is being restored to nature by the use of local seeds & plants.  This is also attracting a large biodiversity of creatures.  
Many trees in the hedges are Elm & suffering from Dutch Elm Disease, apparently it only affects trees over a certain height.  By re-laying the hedges using old established methods will give far better density.  Providing excellent dense habitat for wildlife & reducing fumes from cars etc.  Hedge growth will be maintained as high as possible but avoid attracting the beetle responsible for Dutch Elm Disease.  I agree it initially looks as though the hedges are just reduced & showing the solar panels but the new growth will soon hide again.

Tim Crisp
👍 1

Tue 20 Feb, 19:22 (last edited on Tue 20 Feb, 19:26)

Just a (rather late) reminder that for anyone interested in our biodiversity plans there is a talk by Anne Miller at the Friends Meeting House this evening. https://www.charlbury.info/events/9043 ;

Colin Critch
(site admin)
👍 20

Sun 11 Feb, 13:17 (last edited on Sun 11 Feb, 13:18)

I am glad that the hedge has been laid this bodes well for the life of the hedge and also future screening and biodiversity. I know when a hedge is initially laid it looks very drastic, however the new branches that grow from the diagonal trunk will reach for the sky rapidly and provide copious cover.

Some links on hedge laying

https://www.hedgelaying.org.uk/

(I am assuming it is the Midland style)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hedgelaying#Midland_style

Alan Wilson
👍 1

Sun 11 Feb, 10:35

I don't think anybody here is arguing against solar farms, Mark, or even against Southill Solar - the time for that argument was several years ago.  But I don't see why the fact that solar farms are a "good thing" should mean that they need to be given automatic approval to do anything they feel like.

Mark Luntley
👍 6

Sat 10 Feb, 23:12

According to "Carbon Brief" (link below) in 2022 ground-mounted solar panels covered 0.1% of all land in the UK.

Even after government plans to significantly scale up solar in line with its net-zero target, solar is expected to cover 0.3% of the UK land area. This is the equivalent to around 0.5% of the land currently used for farming – and roughly half of the space taken up by golf courses.

https://www.carbonbrief.org/factcheck-is-solar-power-a-threat-to-uk-farmland/ ;

Alan Wilson
👍 2

Sat 10 Feb, 20:50

As you say, Andrew, the solar farm was designed to be as unobtrusive as possible, and I think a pretty good job was done of that.  But I don't see how anybody can think it will still be as unobtrusive as possible with hedges suddenly reduced to a fraction of their previous height.

Andrew Chapman
👍 20

Sat 10 Feb, 20:08

Wow, what a sad litany of cynicism. Obviously not everyone is going to like solar panels en masse, but this has been an incredibly carefully managed project, closely tied to the community and giving back to it. Last summer I joined a tour of the meadows around the panels - an amazing project supporting biodiversity (much more so than the field that was there before, in fact), with wild flowers and insects everywhere. One field, designed to be as unobtrusive as possible. 

nigel rosser
👍 4

Sat 10 Feb, 17:55

W

Driving past? Typo? You mean cycling past surely? But I agree. As we seek to escape those evil dictatorial oil states, er like Norway, we should put solar panels everywhere. Let's start with the Playing Close, then Nine Acres, the Charlbury Riveria, the tennis courts and the football pitch before expanding to solarise those pesky farms - let's face it those farmers with their cows etc are destroying the planet - and the allotments. (Have you tried getting one recently? It's an absolute classist stitch-up.) Then gardens. Who needs flowers when you can have underproductive solar panels and hedge laying lessons? Hang on. Why have hedges? You could get a few solar panels in there as well. 

Alan Wilson
👍 1

Sat 10 Feb, 14:45

I think it is quite possible to admire the installation and use of solar panels without wanting them to dominate the view from your window.

(Incidentally, the closest I can see to a moan in this discussion so far, is Hans' complaint about people moaning!)

Hans Eriksson
👍 15

Sat 10 Feb, 14:22

I admire the panels everytime I drive past - what we humans can do to reduce CO2 emissions AND the depence on dictator evil petrostates. Bring on many more solar panels in the fields as far as I am concerned. And stop moaning about everything on this forum!

Alan Wilson
👍 3

Sat 10 Feb, 13:58

I note that condition 8 of the planning permission reads:

The new hedgerows in the submitted landscape proposals shall be allowed to grow to a height of not less than 2.5m and all hedgerows shall then be maintained at between 2.5 and 3m in height. The landscaping shall otherwise be maintained for the life of the development in accordance with the submitted landscape details and any revisions to those details that have first been submitted to and approved in writing by the local planning authority. Any trees or plants shown on the approved landscaping scheme to be planted or retained which die, are removed, are damaged or become diseased, or grassed and wild flower areas which become eroded or damaged, shall be replaced by the end of the next planting season. Replacement trees and plants shall be of the same size and species as those lost, unless the Local Planning Authority has first approved in writing an alternative means of replacement.

Reason: To ensure that the planting becomes established and is retained to screen the development.

nigel rosser
👍 1

Sat 10 Feb, 13:42

But we can still the panels from the road. Which wasn't the promise.

Liz Reason
👍 21

Sat 10 Feb, 08:42

There is a good explanation of how the hedge-laying work will contribute to the future healthy growth of the hedges in the link Steve provided below. Remember that Southill is a community benefit society. Since 2016, Southill - through Sustainable Charlbury has granted nearly £0.25m to environmental projects. SusCha is about to commission a new website to provide a clear window on our work and to invite more grant applications. Watch this space. 

nigel rosser
👍 3

Fri 9 Feb, 20:25

Ah those umbrellas in the field photo "proving no one can see the solar panels from the road." Not then, and certainly not in the future it seems. Still, someone's making money from it all.

Alan Wilson
👍 1

Fri 9 Feb, 15:51 (last edited on Fri 9 Feb, 15:51)

Thanks for reminding me of this, Stephen.  I think now that you have drawn my attention to it that I did notice it earlier, it just didn't occur to me that this would involve losing three-quarters of the height of the hedge, making the solar panels much more visible again.

Stephen Andrews
👍 6

Fri 9 Feb, 14:22

Alan, The Southill hedge plans were advertised in the News section in January 

www.charlbury.info/news/archive/2024/1

Alan Wilson
👍

Fri 9 Feb, 13:03

Does anybody know what the plans are at Southill Solar that lie behind the removal of part of the hedgerow along Fawler Road?  I thought the original plans specified that this hedgerow would be increased in height (as has been happening up to now) in order to reduce the visual impact of the solar farm.

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