Proposed 840-MW Botley West Solar Farm holds first consultation

Proposals for the Botley West Solar Farm, with an estimated capacity of 840 MW, are being brought forward by Photovolt Development Partners (PVDP) in what will be the first of a series of public consultations on the scheme. Botley West, split across three site areas located within Cherwell, West Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse, would connect to the National Grid and generate enough renewable energy to power every home in Oxfordshire, England.

Botley West could deliver significant benefits at a time when the demand for electricity is increasing, and there is an urgent need to address climate change and reduce household energy bills. Oxfordshire is leading the way in the fight against climate change with ambitious targets that can make a real difference. Oxfordshire's Energy Strategy, signed up to by all councils within Oxfordshire, sets out that "the majority of the low carbon energy needed in Oxfordshire is likely to be met by solar PV." Botley West will significantly contribute to Oxfordshire's target of reducing the County's carbon emissions by 50% by 2030.

The Hamlet of Chilson Oxfordshire, England
Brian Robert Marshall, The hamlet of Chilson, Cropping, CC BY-SA 2.0

The developer, PVDP, is working with supportive landowners, as landlords of their estates, with a genuine and long-held connection to the local area, including Blenheim Estate. PVDP are working to ensure that their plans for Botley West align with the landowners' long-term strategies for sustainably managing their estates.

Botley West presents a rare and fantastic opportunity to bring about significant environmental gains in Oxfordshire. The project will be designed to boost biodiversity by enriching soil quality and introducing new habitats to provide an attractive area for a variety of wildlife. The project also provides the opportunity for continued agricultural use. This could include sheep grazing, beekeeping, allotments and community gardens.

Today, PVDP has launched the first phase of community consultation for Botley West. The developer welcomes feedback from the communities across the site areas and is committed to undertaking a transparent and rigorous consultation process, which also involves engaging with the local planning authorities, nature conservation groups and statutory consultees. This first phase of consultation will run until December 15. PVDP will also be holding public consultation events for the project across the local area.

A spokesperson for PVDP said: "PVDP has over 18 years of experience developing solar farms across Europe and Japan and are committed to delivering clean, affordable energy generation in the UK. We are working with industry-leading experts to design an environmentally led project for Botley West that will deliver significant benefits for habitats and wildlife as well as creating new recreational access for local people. We encourage the local community to provide their feedback and come along to our consultation events."

The climate emergency must be a focus for us all today. As a landed Estate, we are uniquely positioned to take positive action in protecting future generations. We believe this Nationally Significant proposal for solar, led by Photovolt Development Partners, will help to safeguard this area and support global efforts to reduce carbon emissions and our reliance on fossil fuels.

—said Dominic Hare, Chief Executive Officer at Blenheim Palace.

Due to its proposed generation capacity being over 50 MW, the Botley West Solar Farm will be classified as a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP). This means that PVDP will make an application to the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) for a Development Consent Order (DCO), which could be submitted by the end of 2023.

Visit this official site for more information about the proposals and consultation events.

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