British Solar Renewables submits revised plans for Akeman Solar Park to West Oxfordshire District Council.

  • The new solar park site design scheme is 10% smaller and with approximately 2,900 fewer panels.
  • The solar park will still produce enough clean renewable electricity to power 6,060 homes per year.
  • Akeman Solar Park will contribute to energy security in Oxfordshire through the provision of local, renewable electricity.

British Solar Renewables (BSR), through its development arm ‘BSR Energy’, has submitted plans for a revised solar park (Akeman Solar Park) and battery storage facility on land south of Ramsden, Akeman Street, Ramsden, OX7 3AY. The developer ran an initial programme of public consultation in 2021 and submitted plans for the proposal. However, having listened to feedback collected during the original consultation period, BSR revised the site scheme design and launched a second programme of public consultation in 2023.

Although the revised site scheme is 10% smaller than the previous design, technological advances, and specification changes in the output of panels means 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. This is the equivalent to the annual electrical needs of approximately 6,060 family homes. The anticipated CO2 displacement is around 8,600 tonnes per annum, which represents an emission saving equivalent of a reduction in 3,970 cars on the road every year. The need for increased renewable energy is urgent and is in a context of declared national and local climate emergencies, where all efforts must be made to ensure the UK meets its legally binding target to reach net zero emissions by 2050.

Detailed assessments were undertaken that have helped design a scheme that is sensitive towards and compatible with the local landscape and environment. The proposed solar park offers the opportunity for ecological enhancements including wildflower and wild bird seed grasslands. A range of breeding boxes for bats and birds are also being considered as part of the application. There is expected to be a significant positive net biodiversity impact. New hedgerow planting is also proposed to contain and screen the solar arrays and no public rights of way will be closed during or after construction. BSR anticipate that the solar park will have a significant positive net biodiversity impact with a net gain of over 48% for habitats and 52% gain for hedgerows expected across the site.

As responsible developers BSR is committed to establishing a community benefit fund of £20,000 to be made available to the local community to spend on local projects. The money can be used for a variety of projects and previous examples include the implementation of energy saving measures for low-income households and support for community projects focused on energy efficiency and renewable energy generation.

Akeman Solar Park is subject to local business rates and will generate significant income for West Oxfordshire District Council. The project, over its lifecycle will generate approximately a million pounds of business rates for West Oxfordshire District Council which will help much needed fund local services.

The UK Government and many local authorities, including West Oxfordshire District Council, have declared Climate Emergencies in response to the growing and imminent threat posed by climate change, and this application proposes precisely the type and of new energy infrastructure needed to help counter that very serious threat.

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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”.