The Department for environment, food and rural affairs (Defra) was informed by the CAP Direct Payments Team that solar farms do not have a “serious” impact on the UK’s agricultural output ahead of its controversial decision to remove CAP payments for solar farms.
A freedom of information (FOI) request filed by Solar Power Portal reveals that the CAP Direct Payments Team told Defra in September 2014 that: “Given the small areas of land covered [by solar farms] currently, it is not possible to argue that, at the national level, there is yet a serious impact on agricultural output.”
However just one month later, environment secretary Elizabeth Truss proclaimed that her department was removing CAP payments for solar farms because she did not want to see English farmland’s “productive potential wasted and its appearance blighted by solar farms”.
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