RES submits planning application for 49.9 MW Nuneham Solar Farm in Oxfordshire

British renewable energy company RES has submitted a planning application to South Oxfordshire District Council for its 49.9 MW Nuneham Solar Farm which aims to deliver significant environmental benefits while providing low-cost electricity for 13,000 homes.
RES submits planning application for 49.9 MW Nuneham Solar Farm in Oxfordshire
Longhedge Solar Farm, Nottinghamshire. Courtesy of RES.

The project has been specifically designed to be dual-purpose allowing continued agricultural use in the form of sheep grazing alongside the production of renewable energy.

If consented, the project, located in Nuneham Courtenay, would be capable of producing clean, low-cost electricity for over 13,000 homes as well as saving around 20,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions every year, compared to the equivalent fossil fuel generation.

The proposal has been through a detailed design process, with results from site surveys and assessments, in addition to feedback from the community and stakeholders, helping to shape the final design. Changes that have been made during the project’s development include the removal and relocation of solar infrastructure which has led to a reduction in the overall size of the site to ensure it fits sensitively into the existing landscape. Public Rights of Way which cross the site have also been considered with solar infrastructure set back a minimum distance of 8 metres, and new planting proposed along sections of the footpaths to reduce potential visibility of the solar farm whilst retaining the existing agricultural views to the north of the site.

The solar farm has been specifically designed to enable continued prime agricultural use in the form of sheep farming alongside the production of renewable electricity. Sheep farming provides employment, supports rural economies and landscapes managed by grazing sheep support a rich diversity of wildlife, while producing food.

“Enhancing local biodiversity is important to RES as demonstrated by a comprehensive Landscape Masterplan which we have submitted alongside our planning application” said Claire Chamberlain, Development Project Manager at RES. “This sets out immediate and long-term commitments to manage planting and other landscape measures and shows how our Nuneham Solar Farm proposal has the potential to deliver a biodiversity net gain of 70 percent. Solar projects are quick to deploy, enable more energy to be generated domestically improving security of supply and contribute to Net Zero targets. They are also the cheapest form of new electricity generation, alongside other renewable technologies, which makes developments like Nuneham not just good for the environment but for the consumer too.”

If consented, the project would include the creation of 2.7 kilometres of new native species-rich hedgerow and native tree planting, including enhancement to existing hedgerow. As well as providing screening to reduce potential visibility, the planting will provide wildlife corridors and vital resources for mammals, birds, and insect species.

A statutory consultation period will be advertised and held by South Oxfordshire District Council to enable the public, as well as statutory consultees, to submit their comments on the proposal. These comments will then be assessed against the proposal and a determination made in due course.

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Nuneham Solar Farm

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