Thank you for writing to me about protecting literary landscapes.
I appreciate your concerns and, like you, I believe that the landscapes that inspired some of country’s most treasured works of literature should definitely be protected for future generations to enjoy.
So I agree that our planning system should protect natural landscapes and heritage assets, and I would like to assure you that my ministerial colleagues are committed to ensuring it does just that. I certainly recognise that, in some cases, the deployment of large-scale solar farms can have a negative impact on the rural environment.
However, the Government is also committed to reaching its target to eliminate the UK’s contribution to climate change by achieving net zero by 2050. Solar power is currently envisaged as a key building block in ensuring that we meet this target. And in a bid to boost long-term energy independence, security and prosperity, the Government launched its Energy Security Strategy, which set out how Britain will accelerate the deployment of wind, nuclear, solar and hydrogen power, while supporting the production of domestic oil and gas in the nearer term.
I understand that Ministers intend to undertake a fuller review of the National Planning Policy Framework later this year to ensure the reformed planning system can effectively mitigate and adapt to climate change and maximise environmental benefits. I would encourage you to share your views when this consultation launches.
I appreciate that there are a range of views on large scale solar farms. I personally firmly believe that local authorities - who know their areas best - are best placed to make decisions on solar farm sites. The Government has been clear that strong environmental protections will remain in place, with valued landscapes such as National Parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the Green Belt protected. I will certainly do my very best to hold them to that – and especially in relation to our wonderful and important literary landscapes.
Thank you again for writing to me.
With best wishes.
Jonathan Lord MP
Member of Parliament for Woking