I was fortunate to be at the town council meeting last week where the solar panel proposal for land at Old Malton was being discussed. Both the developers, Harmony Energy, and the tenant farmer, Rob Sturdy, gave a presentation to the councillors and public, giving their side of the story. What very soon became crystal clear to everyone, is that this is not a case of Harmony Energy having a philanthropic plan to rescue the planet through their provision of green energy, driven by a passionate desire to ‘do good’. It is simply a business venture. To this end, they appear to be prepared to ride rough-shod over the local landscape, over the need to protect our foodchain, and over other people’s livelihoods and wellbeing. The only reason that the Old Malton site has been selected by them as the only viable site is actually because it is the only site that will generate sufficient profit for them, as they admitted in the meeting. Let’s not be under any illusion that this proposal is for any other purpose than making significant amounts of money for both Harmony Energy and the Fitzwilliam Trust Corporation.
Kim Hume

Panels essential
Renewable energy sources including solar panels are essential to help Ryedale meet its target of net zero emissions by 2050.
Despite declaring a climate emergency, buildings are still given planning permission by a small majority of Ryedale District Councillors without a requirement for solar panels. Local small scale solar panel initiatives have proved to be currently impossible due to the lack of suitable infrastructure in the area and the number of solar panels on individual dwellings remain miserly due to low feed-in tariff rates and the initial heavy expense to households.
Given these miserable shortcomings from local and national government despite their fine words, we should be applauding Harmony Energy for their solar farm proposal which would serve over 60% of houses in Ryedale by using an alternative energy source. This would be a real gamechanger.
Two recent letters to the G & H criticise Harmony Energy for seeking commercial gain which seems bizarre. Everybody else in this story from tenant farmers to the Fitzwilliam Trust and Northern Powergrid exist to make money, so I fail to see why Harmony Energy is being singled out. They are not receiving any subsidies for this proposed project and need recompense for what would be one of the largest ever investments in the area, bringing in an estimated £100k in business rates each year.
From a recent article, it does however appear that a local tenant farmer is being treated lamentably. Given the potential profits involved in this enterprise, it is surely only right that this individual is consulted properly and offered appropriate compensation by the landlord so his chosen livelihood can continue. There is only one suitable substation in the whole of Ryedale for a significant solar farm. This is in Old Malton and regulations set by Northern Powergrid and every other provider in the country require a maximum 300 metre distance from a large energy source such as this for good safety reasons. Options are therefore very limited indeed, despite letters stating the contrary. In the absence of any other significant alternative energy schemes, this project should be greatly applauded.
Peter Winter
Kirby Misperton