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How Solar power, farming and nature work together showcased in new film

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A new film showing how solar power, farming and nature work together has been launched by an Oxfordshire community energy project.

‘Solar Power, Farming, and Nature: towards a safe future’ was produced by Westmill Sustainable Energy Trust (WeSET), an independent charity primarily funded by the community-owned Westmill solar and windfarm near Swindon. The film features footage of the site and was filmed after a day-long conference held there in June, focusing on solar energy and its relationship with farming and biodiversity.

Alongside the resident flock of sheep, who roam, graze and seek shelter under the solar panels, the film features short interviews with a range of energy, biodiversity and agricultural experts:

  • Dr Jonathan Scurlock from the National Farmers Union
  • Isobel Morris, Senior Policy Officer at the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds
  • Chris Hewett, Chief Executive, Solar Energy UK
  • Adam Twine, farmer of Westmill Farm
  • Nick Eyre, Professor of Energy and Climate Policy, University of Oxford
  • Alona Armstrong, Professor in Energy & Environmental Studies, University of Lancaster
  • Duncan Law from Community Energy England

Chris Church, producer of the film, and trustee of WeSET, said:

“Getting solar power and farming working together while improving biodiversity is a challenge – and it is one that is being met at more and more solar farms. It is a sad fact that people who don’t like the look of solar farms are sometimes coming up with profoundly misleading claims about the threats to nature and to our food security from solar power.

“The reality – as set out in our video – is that even a five-fold increase in solar power will take up less than 0.5% of UK agricultural land. We can also design solar farms to deliver real improvements in biodiversity and create new spaces for nature. Our video shows how solar power can be part of a safer future.”

The film can be viewed in full on WESET’s website.

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