Solar power is a great opportunity for Ryedale

Ryedale has a beautiful rural landscape and unlike many other areas, we have very little wind energy.  So a solar power scheme is a great opportunity for Ryedale to be part of the green energy revolution with minimal visual impact.  Such projects may even provide employment to our current generation of young people in Ryedale rather than seeking jobs out of the area.  I am aware such a project will take some land out of agricultural production and I was sorry to read that the family mentioned in last week’s front page story, said that the local estate had not carried out any prior consultation with them. 

Between 2018 and early 2020 I spent considerable time with other members of our village investigating the possibility of creating a commercially viable community energy scheme.  One fact that became clear was that the ‘size’ of the local grid connection is critical to the amount of power that can be put into the grid.  After many meetings with the various stakeholders in the scheme we decided to shelve it as there was no chance of the grid in our part of Ryedale being improved to the point which would allow the scheme to be viable.

I also learnt that there are only a handful of sites in Ryedale where a reasonable sized solar scheme would be viable due to those same grid constraints, so irrespective of what happens with this scheme Ryedale will not be overrun with such developments.  Ryedale has a similar amount of ‘usable’ sunshine as the Cotswolds (where there are several successful solar schemes that have been running for some years).  Over the 40 year life of a solar scheme there will be a huge reduction to the carbon emissions from that energy production.

In my opinion, this would be a hugely positive step for Ryedale to have our own green energy production. I fully support the scheme in principle.


David Davis, Hovingham

Let’s keep Ryedale’s best bits beautiful for our children

David Davis’ letter published on 16 June regarding the proposal to site a solar park on land at Old Malton states that Ryedale has a beautiful rural landscape and I would wholeheartedly agree with that statement. However it is my view that this landscape is one that Harmony Energy seem intent on industrialising for their own gain.  If it were the case that financial profit were not the main priority here, they would surely be seeking a more appropriate location to enable Ryedale to meet its green commitment.  The fact is that the location next to the electric substation is convenient and money saving and so this is the preferred location for what amounts to the industrialisation of what is currently not only a prime agricultural food producing parcel of land but a spectacularly beautiful part of Ryedale. This part of Yorkshire is not referred to as God’s own County for nothing, and certainly not for views of solar panels. 

It makes no sense to strip prime agricultural land of its soil for 40 years (or whatever timescale Harmony propose) and take it out of the food producing chain when our ability as a country to produce our own food supplies needs protecting.  Yes green energy needs investment and expansion but not at the cost of an existing valid and important use of land.  

The scale of the land that has been tested by Harmony Energy is truly enormous and can be seen on the map that has been posted on the Facebook page SaveOldMaltonCountryside.  If the planners allow this solar park to go ahead in the proposed location it will change the face of Old Malton and indeed Ryedale for the remainder of my lifetime and a good chunk of the next generation’s lifetime.  Who knows what will happen after the land is no longer wanted for solar, will it then be effectively waste ground?  It will have been removed from the farm of which it is currently at the very heart and I don’t suppose the Fitzwilliam Trust will just hand it back over for farming, even if it is in a suitable condition or state to be able to produce any successful crops.  Perhaps this will be a gateway for further industrialisation? Somethings need protecting and are worth protecting for future generations and it is my strong view that this proposed development should not go ahead at this location.  By all means look to invest in solar and wind energy in Ryedale but look elsewhere, take land that is an eyesore and needs improving and put it to good and purposeful use, don’t spoil what is already at it’s best and serving an important purpose.

Let’s keep Ryedale’s best bits beautiful for our children and future generations.

Kate Morris

Huttons Ambo

Decisions should not be driven by financial gain

I am prompted to write in after reading David Davis’ letter in last week’s edition in favour of the proposed solar power scheme for farmland around Old Malton, as there are points in that letter that must be responded to.  Mr Davis claims that there will be “minimal visual impact”, but if you take a look at the map outlining the 180 acres in the current proposal and the 530 acres in total which have been tested for suitability in the same location, it is undeniable that there will be a huge visual impact. The map has been shared on the saveoldmaltoncountryside facebook page and website, for anyone who cares to take a look at what is actually planned for our local food-producing farmland.  What’s more, how can Mr Davis claim that Ryedale will not be subject to future solar developments, surely any future plans would only be known by the landowners and developers and those close to them?

Mr Davis also refers more than once to the “commercial viability” of a solar site, by which we can only assume he means the opportunity for profit for those involved, which in this case is Harmony Energy and The Fitzwilliam Trust.  Why should we accept that these organisations can simply take such good arable land away from farming for commercial gain, without any apparent consideration of the effect on our national food production, and certainly without consideration of the farming family at the very heart of it?  Their argument is that we need this renewable energy, which is true, but there needs to be much more careful consideration of where to place the installations, without it being at the expense of our quality arable land.   The proposed site has been chosen due to its proximity to the sub-station, which simply makes it more profitable for Harmony Energy, it is not the case that it is the only suitable area in Ryedale.  In fact, I would ask how many other sites have even been tested?  Green energy should not be pursued at the expense of food-producing fields, this is clearly not a sensible long-term strategy.  These decisions should not be driven by financial gain for the private companies involved,

Kim Hume