PROPOSALS for a solar park on two West Somerset farms have attracted massive protests.

If Elgin Energy EsCo Ltd's plans are approved, two families fear they could lose their farms - despite agreements guaranteeing their tenancy.

The application for the panels on land at Kentsford Farm and Parsonage Farm, Washford, has attracted nearly 50 objections.

Robert Dibble, of Kentsford Farm, wants his son James to become the third generation of the family to operate the Wyndham Estate farm.

Mr Dibble said: "They want to take away a quarter of my arable acreage which would make viability of the farm doubtful.

"The applicant says the soil quality is poor, but our analysis contradicts that.

"They claim the solar panels would be unobtrusive, but it's extremely beautiful countryside and would be seen from the Quantocks and Exmoor National Park.

"Food should be paramount in the economy. To take away good plough ground that grows crops isn't the way to save the planet.

"We should be going for a larger plant based diet. Solar panels aren't green to make or get rid of and not that efficient in this country."

Richard Burnell, of Parsonage Farm, which hosts Watchet Music Festival, said: "The overpowering scale of the proposed scheme is completely inappropriate for the area.

"We'll lose good land and open countryside."

West Somerset MP Ian Liddell-Grainger said: "This is going to intrude massively on a relatively unspoilt part of West Somerset in a highly visible site.

"I feel very angry that farming families will be turned off land they've cared for and nurtured for so long."

Elgin Energy claims the solar farm would generate enough electricity to power 7,500 homes.

In a statement accompanying the planning application, it adds: "Every effort has been taken in the design of the solar park to avoid unacceptable environmental and amenity effects, whilst ensuring that the

project can make a considerable contribution to the UK’s requirement for renewable electricity generation.

"The UK is reduce carbon emissions increase electricity consumption from renewable resources.

"Additionally...the UK became the first major economy in the world to legislate a legally binding target of net zero emissions by 2050.

"The proposed solar park would contribute towards local, national and international targets, is supported fully by planning and energy policy and supports the transition from fossil fuel to clean renewable electricity generation."