Plans for a 5.6MW solar park in Cumbria have courted controversy from local residents.

Burscough-based Green Switch Solutions is seeking views from Allerdale Borough Council over plans to construct a 5.6MW solar park across approximately 11 hectares of land in Bothel, Cumbria.

However, a local campaign group has warned that it will oppose Green Switch Solutions’ plans. The Westnewton Action Group, set up in 2007 to unsuccessfuly oppose the development of a local wind farm, issued a warning that covering “green agricultural land” with “shiny black plastic” would create significant visual impact on the local area.

In a statement seen by local paper the Times & Star, Westnewton Action Group said: “Sustainability is a favourite word used by the renewables industry in an attempt to justify its imposition of its projects on our landscapes, but is it not even more the case that the very landscapes themselves need to be sustained in order to prevent their abuse and erosion by the greed of such an industry?

“We believe that everything therefore points to an environmental impact assessment being an essential element, and so we respectfully suggest that the planning authority make this an absolute requirement of any future full application.”

Following the dramatic increase in large-scale installs in the UK during the first quarter of 2013, the solar industry has been faced with an increasing number of local groups opposing developments.

The upcoming Large Scale Solar UK conference will explore the issues faced by solar developers including best practice for planning. More details about the event in Truro, Cornwall can be viewed here