Campaigners flooding fears for Buckden solar plant plan

The proposed site is this field next to the river and opposite the Offords - on the Ouse Valley Way. 

The proposed site is this field next to the river and opposite the Offords - on the Ouse Valley Way. - Credit: GLENIS REAGON

A campaign group has been set up to oppose plans to build an industrial-sized solar panel plant in the village of Buckden.

The group, calling itself Space For Our River, says it is not opposed to the use of renewable energy, but feels the location is wrong and the plant could present flooding issues for the area as the land is a "functional floodplain".

They have also raised concerns about the loss of green space and the plant's proximity to local footpaths and the Ouse Valley Way. 

Econergy, the company behind the plans, has said it is still finalising its proposals following feedback from residents and interested parties and anticipates a full planning application will be submitted to Huntingdonshire District Council later this month or in early May.

The plan is likely to be for 40,000 solar panels on two fields, one is opposite the Mill Road entrance to Buckden Marina and the other is close to the river at Offord. 

Campaigner Glenis Reagon told The Hunts Post the area regularly floods and the fields play a vital role in dispersing flood water.

"These fields are functional flood plains and vital to making space for flood water. The fields are also among our last remaining green spaces where families can access an open area of natural beauty, enjoy the river and engage with the environment."

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Glenis says many homes in Buckden and the Offords are already at serious risk of flooding. Mill Road and Station Road are closed during floods and these are the main roads connecting the villages. 

"We support renewable energy, however, these fields are not environmentally suitable for an industrial solar panel plant," said Glenis.

"The area is adjacent to the river, part of the Ouse Valley Way and is surrounded by footpaths.

"If this plan goes ahead, it will destroy a green space that is popular for walking dogs, walking and exercising, bird watching, fishing and beneficial to the health and well-being of the community."

Econergy, an independent power producer that specialises in renewable energy projects, says The Low Farm development will contribute towards the security of energy supply in Huntingdonshire and create employment.

In its consultation documents, the company states: "Low Farm will assist Buckden Parish Council to reduce emissions in line with local and national targets, whilst supporting the Climate Emergency strategy. Following the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), the UK has highlighted the need to act, pledging support to move away from fossil fuels and transition to a low carbon future, with solar development as ‘essential infrastructure’ in national policy." 

WHAT DO YOU THINK? Email: debbie.davies@archant.co.uk.