Farm Blog: Major changes to the landscape could be coming soon

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The landscape of southern Britain could soon look very different, even bearing in mind the massive changes already made.

The construction of large solar farms, which deserve their own symbol on Ordnance Survey maps, has continued apace and anyone driving on the A34 just north of Winchester cannot fail to have noticed the huge solar structures installed there.

These signs are a stone’s throw from the pumps that extract oil from one of the many wells in the south of England and in an area once designated for fracking exploration that stretched as far north as the southern fringes of England. ‘Andover. It could still come back as the science of fracking is ‘re-examined’ to see if it has become safer, but landowners should be aware that once the company retires they are responsible for maintaining the sealed well. It’s a poison pill that may only be swallowed by the next generation, but it could hurt land values.

The desire for energy self-sufficiency will see the questioning of wind projects which, not so long ago, would have been unacceptable for landscape reasons. The promise of cheaper electricity for those living near rod-mounted wind turbines could still be enough to buy the naysayers, especially when many of them will rely on electric heating to replace volatile oil prices.

If more wind turbine projects are given the green light for planning, the south-central England our children look to could look very different to the one previous generations have known and loved. Instead of herds of sheep, herds of cattle, crops of barley and wheat, future landscape painters may paint fields of dazzling solar panels and horizons dominated by towering wind turbines.

A more immediate concern for many people is the plague of fly tipping, which has been experienced by virtually every farmer I know, and there are many. Much is said about the cost to authorities who must remove illegally dumped waste from public spaces, but often overlooked is the cost to private landowners who are forced to clean up waste at their own expense and face legal action. they don’t. The only ones getting away with it at no cost, other than some fuel to get to the dump, are the dumpsters themselves who must be really unlucky to get caught. On my way home the other evening, the attractive open forest at the end of the road caught my eye, not because of the wonderful display of bluebells emerging, but rather because of the 12 bin bags of rubbish and half of an old sofa that had magically appeared in the two hours since my last visit!

The government is offering £450,000 between some local authorities to set up surveillance to catch the culprits. Three of the councils are Eastleigh, Winchester and Basingstoke and Deane. Dumpsters familiar with this central area of ​​Hampshire might be tempted to make a slightly longer journey into a neighboring authority’s area to avoid detection. Perhaps extra vigilance will be needed in Test Valley, West Berkshire and East Hampshire if the grants are not themselves intended to prove a bad idea!

Kevin Prince has extensive farming and rural business experience in Hampshire, where he lives near Andover, and in the south of England as a director of consultancy Adkin. His family also operates a diversified farm with commercial rentals, lodges and 800 arable acres.

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