Integrated solar developer British Solar Renewables (BSR) has submitted revised plans for a 20MW solar farm in West Oxfordshire.
Being pursued via the company’s development arm BSR Energy, the revised plans for Akeman Solar Park, which includes battery energy storage, were changed due to feedback collected throughout the original public consultation period in 2021.
The revised plans for the project have seen the scheme downsized by around 10% featuring around 2,900 fewer solar panels. Technological advances and specification changes in the output of panels mean the solar park would still have an export capacity of up to 20MW for distribution to the National Grid and would generate an estimated 20,000MWh of clean, renewable electricity per year.
In a bid to change the plans of the solar farm, BSR stated that “detailed assessments were undertaken” and enabled the project to become more compatible with the local landscape and environment.
Biodiversity net gains will also be a prominent feature of the project with BSR citing that it would see a net gain of over 48% for habitats and a 52% gain for hedgerows expected across the site.
A £20,000 community benefit fund will also be established to be spent on local projects.
Colin Ramsay, chief operating officer at BSR Energy, said: “It has never been more important to change the way we make energy in the UK. Our application follows West Oxfordshire District Council’s declaration of a climate emergency, and the emergence of national climate change targets that are enshrined in law.
“We’ve listened closely to the feedback from the local community and have made recent amendments to the scheme design including the removal of sections of the proposed solar array.”
BSR resubmits planning application for 19MW solar farm
The Akeman Solar Park is not the only recent revised plan submitted by BSR for a solar farm with the firm stating it had also resubmitted its planning application for a 19MW solar farm in Essex.
The Dengie Solar Park, which would sit on 33 hectares of land near the village of Dengie, Maldon District, was first issued a refusal by Maldon District Council in July 2023.
Having been provided feedback by the Council as to why it was refused, BSR has integrated a number of changes to the scheme ahead of resubmission. This includes a revised Flood Risk Assessment and Outline Drainage Strategy, a Flood Risk Sequential Test, a Farmland Bird Mitigation Strategy, the relevant Landscape and Visual Assessment and the relevant Landscape General Arrangement Plan and Landscape Softworks Plan.
Much like Akeman, the Essex-based solar farm will look to also boost biodiversity. The Dengie Solar Park will see a habitat net gain of 247% and a hedgerow net gain of 17.71%.
If granted planning approval, construction is expected to commence in early 2025 and last for six months. Carla Hardaker, development director at BSR, said: “Although the initial refusal for planning consent was disappointing, we believe we are bringing forward a well-designed project which will have an overall positive impact on the local landscape and ecology.
“Additionally, Dengie Solar Park will aid Maldon District Council in addressing the Climate Emergency it declared in February 2021 and in achieving its aim of becoming a carbon neutral District by 2030.”