Looking north to Rampisham Down © Tony Bates
Dorset Wildlife Trust (DWT) is shocked and appalled to learn that West Dorset District Council have voted to approve planning permission to create a large solar farm on a nationally important wildlife site, Rampisham Down in west Dorset.
The 72 ha (187 acres) Rampisham Down is a legally protected SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) set in the heart of a nationally protected landscape, and is one of the largest sites of lowland acid grassland remaining in England. It is home to an incredibly rare grouping of plants and fungi, including lousewort, eyebright and waxcap fungi, and supports a range of wildlife from adders to skylarks.
Shock at the decision, despite other suitable site being availabe nearby.
DWT is even more shocked to discover that an alternative site, on the other side of the road, has been made available for the solar farm, yet still West Dorset District Councillors voted in favour of this wildlife-rich Rampisham Down site.
"These special wildlife sites are few and far between."
DWT’s Chief Executive, Dr Simon Cripps, said, “With a viable alternative site available, we can’t understand why the council have allowed this important wildlife site to be lost to developers. Dorset Wildlife Trust supports renewable energy, in the right place. These special, legally protected wildlife sites are few and far between so we need to protect them, especially in this case, when there is a perfectly acceptable alternative site nearby, which we support.”
We need to overturn this decision.
National Planning Policy is clear that developments on protected sites such as Rampisham, should not go ahead if alternatives are available. DWT will be lobbying Natural England to take immediate action to ask the Secretary of State to overturn this perverse decision. The Wildlife Trusts has launching a national campaign to stop protected sites being lost from our natural heritage, you can also read more background information here.
How you can help
Act now to save Rampisham Down
Notes to Editor
For more information please contact Sally Welbourn at Dorset Wildlife Trust on 01305 264620 or 07436 158 325.
Working for a secure future for Dorset’s wildlife enriching the quality of life
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Dorset Wildlife Trust works to champion wildlife and natural places, to engage and inspire people and to promote sustainable living. Founded in 1961, DWT is now the largest voluntary nature conservation organisation in Dorset, with over 25,000 members and over 40 nature reserves. Most are open daily and there are visitor centres providing a wealth of wildlife information at Brooklands Farm, Lorton Meadows, Kingcombe Meadows and Brownsea Island Nature Reserves, The Purbeck Marine Wildlife Reserve and the Urban Wildlife Centre at Upton Heath Nature Reserve. DWT plays a key role in dealing with local environmental issues and leads the way in establishing the practices of sustainable development and engaging new audiences in conservation, particularly in the urban areas.