Fury as millionaire Tory MP who opposed green energy wants huge solar farm …

September 21, 2013 by  
Filed under Green Energy News

  • Richard Drax has made plans to cover his 7,000-acre estate in solar panels
  • Plans are despite previous opposition to green energy initiatives
  • People in his South Dorset constituency have described him as a hypocrite

Stephen Wright

18:38 EST, 20 September 2013


09:57 EST, 21 September 2013

'Hypocrisy': Richard Drax MP has planned to coat his estate with solar panels

‘Hypocrisy’: Richard Drax MP has planned to coat his estate with solar panels

A millionaire Tory MP has infuriated his neighbours with plans to build an enormous solar farm on his sprawling estate.

Richard Drax was last night facing claims of hypocrisy after proposals to put scores of solar panels on 174 acres of his land were submitted to planners.

Local residents in Dorset point out that three months ago Mr Drax attacked plans to increase subsidies for wind turbines and solar panels.

He also led opposition to a proposed wind farm off the Dorset coast.

But the Harrow-educated politician now wants to build a solar farm the size of  110 football pitches on his 7,000-acre  Charborough Estate.

Leading the fight against the South  Dorset MP’s plans is Sir Michael Butler, a retired Foreign Office civil servant, who says he has already defeated a previous proposal for a wind farm on the same site.

Sir Michael, 86, is among more than 300 people who have written to the planning authority about the solar project. He told the Mail: ‘If this plan was to go ahead it would be an absolute disaster.

‘This is a most beautiful part of the  British countryside and they want to stick this abomination in the middle of it.’

Tony Pollard, 85, who is retired from the RAF, added: ‘There’s been a lot of chuntering about all this.

in mind [Mr Drax’s] previous comments …  in which he seemed to be
opposed to subsidies for wind and solar farms there are those who might
consider him something of a hypocrite.’

Family seat: Solar panels are planned for 174 acres of the sprawling Charborough Estate in Dorset

Family seat: Solar panels are planned for 174 acres of the sprawling Charborough Estate in Dorset

Mr Drax, 55 – full name Richard Grosvenor Plunkett-Ernle-Erle-Drax – has said the opinion of the local community was sought before the application was submitted ‘and will continue to be incorporated’.

He said the site is well screened and will be planted with a ‘wildflower-rich grass sward’. A  community fund would also be established to benefit the area.

He declined to answer questions from the Mail on how much income he would receive from the solar farm or to address claims that he is a hypocrite for backing the scheme.

Under fire: Angry locals have tried to block the plans

Under fire: Angry locals have tried to block the plans

A statement on his behalf said: ‘The Charborough Estate is working with renewable energy provider Good Energy in considering the suitability of field-scale solar energy projects on land which it owns.

‘There is a strong and increasing need for additional sources of renewable energy. ‘

A spokesman for Good Energy said: ‘The project will play an important role in improving the UK’s energy security, as well as reducing its carbon emissions.’

Solar power was supported financially by the Government to encourage its growth, he said.

‘There is no direct subsidy paid to Mr Drax related to this project,’ added the spokesman. ‘Good Energy has an agreement to lease the land from the estate and pay rent accordingly.’

The comments below have not been moderated.

I guess he just read the subsidies package offered. The farmland package wasn’t good enough anymore.


london, United Kingdom,
21/9/2013 21:56

The Drax family still own their Great House in Barbados, which can be visited. It was of course the main source of their fortunes as a sugar plantation.

Malcolm Stuart

21/9/2013 21:54

an MP a hypocrite?

mark adam

london, United Kingdom,
21/9/2013 20:48

mad idea, crippling lower paid and pensioners who Heat or Eat, to fund the madness of global warming , the earth is actually cooling, trust me Im human and can read.


kendal, United Kingdom,
21/9/2013 20:41


John Hines

Bury St Edmunds, United Kingdom,
21/9/2013 20:34

I have always voted conservative but never again amongst other things all of them and Labour, seem to want to do is ruin our wonderful countryside.be it trains or ugly wind farms solar. We the taxpayer have to pay and still pay dearly for all our fuel ext. UKIP


lichfield staffs, United Kingdom,
21/9/2013 20:26

Why am i not surprised that a self serving hypocrite in government would look to his own profit ? Poor people
should know their place ……


21/9/2013 20:17

We’ve already got one Drax power station. Off the subject looks like he’s totally in touch with the voters of this county………NOT


Stoke on Trent, United Kingdom,
21/9/2013 18:42

I guess he must have the prospects of making a few quid.


Gloucester, United Kingdom,
21/9/2013 18:18

Coal and oil are produced by plants from sunlight and photosynthesis, don’t solar panels like cut out the middleman so to speak without the noxious compounds that are released when burning fossilised organic compounds?


Fylde Coast, United Kingdom,
21/9/2013 17:32

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