Over recent months and years there has been a great deal of discussion and controversy about plans for Green energy projects.

Opposition to onshore wind turbines effectively stopped their construction in England and Wales more than a decade ago.

Now there is growing opposition to proposals for solar plants on agricultural land - and on a very one-dimensional level it looks as if there is a popular uprising against green energy, in the countryside at any rate.

That isn't always borne out in elections - we've seen the Green Party taking the leading role in three districts in Suffolk and I get the impression that leading Tory county councillors are terrified about what might happen to them in the election in May 2025.

But on the ground any suggestion of using any farmland for anything other growing crops or providing pasture seems to galvanise local communities into opposition (even if sheep may safely graze under solar panels!).

One of the most common calls you hear is "put the solar panels on new commercial buildings, warehouses and on new homes."

That seems eminently sensible - solar panels on new buildings would mean that those buildings would use less electricity from the grid, and may even be able to feed power into the grid in certain circumstances.

So why don't all new buildings have them? It basically comes down to government ambivalence about the subject.

East Anglian Daily Times: Why doesn't the government all new homes have heat pumps and solar panels?Why doesn't the government all new homes have heat pumps and solar panels? (Image: Newsquest)

It's the same with heat pumps in domestic homes. These are far more environmentally-friendly than gas or oil boilers - but until they are phased out from new homes (and the government has just put that back until 2035) there is no chance of them becoming commonplace.

I've spoken to councillors from the Tories, Labour, and the Greens about this in Suffolk and they all share the same frustration that they're not able to make the decisions they want because of the lack of government support.

The fact is that until it becomes compulsory for homes to have environmentally-friendly heating and solar panels or for warehouses to use their huge bulk to generate electricity for the common good, it simply will not happen.

The issue is that housebuilders and commercial developers are businesses. When it comes down to it, whatever they say in their glossy brochures, their central aim is to maximise their profit.

That means they try to keep costs as low as possible - so they don't want to add in more costly options like heat-pumps or solar panels unless they have to.

Councillors from all parties say they could insist on these as part of a planning consent - but if they do the developers would only appeal or even just abandon the plan and look for a site over the district border where they think councillors would be more accommodating.

Unless the government insists on this technology by law, it simply will not happen - meanwhile its enthusiasm for the Net Zero target means that applications for solar plants tend to be looked on benignly by planning inspectors if they go to appeal.

East Anglian Daily Times: Mid Suffolk leader Andy Mellen is frustrated by planning rules over renewable energy.Mid Suffolk leader Andy Mellen is frustrated by planning rules over renewable energy. (Image: Charlotte Bond)

New Mid Suffolk leader Andy Mellen said precisely this to me with reference to the Bramford solar farm when I talked to him about the Green Party's first six months running the council.

He said he would much rather be able to insist on solar panels being built into all the new warehouses and factories being built at Gateway 14 rather than on the farmland - but if the council did take those decisions they could face costly appeals.

And both of those appeals could go the way of the developers - leaving council taxpayers in exactly the same position they are in now, but with a hefty bill for legal expenses to cope with.

Ultimately if we want Green solutions for our homes and businesses that has to be a national decision - and right now the current government doesn't seem as interested in the long-term future of the environment as it is in improving its pretty dismal prospects at the next General Election.