Planning submitted for Solar Park to power approximately 7,000 homes near Basingstoke
British Solar Renewables (BSR Energy), has submitted plans for a solar park (Preston Farm Solar Park) on land at Preston Farm, Preston Candover, Basingstoke.
BSR works with landowners, environmental specialists and planning authorities to develop, build, operate and manage solar parks.
It is estimated that the generating station would have an installed capacity of up to 28MWp for distribution to the National Grid. This is the equivalent to the annual electrical needs of approximately 7,000 family homes.
The need for increased renewable energy is urgent and is in a context of declared national and local climate emergencies. The UK Government has set an ambitious target of reducing emissions by 78% by 2035. Renewable electricity generation, including solar, will play a key role in meeting this target. The anticipated CO2 displacement of the proposed site is around 6,202 tonnes per annum.
Detailed assessments have been undertaken that have helped design a scheme that is sensitive towards and compatible with the local landscape and environment. Each BSR solar park secures natural spaces for future generations. By building on low-grade farmland, BSR has been able to protect around 2700 acres of land so far, while eco-initiatives such as beehive building, bug hotels and wildflower planting. The proposed solar park at Preston Farm 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. The site biodiversity net gain assessment has calculated an up to 80% gain in habitats and 40% in the hedgerows demonstrating the positive 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.
Residents were invited to a public consultation event that was held in July 2021, where BSR Energy’s project team presented plans and took questions regarding the draft proposal. In response to several issues raised during the public consultation process, recent amendments to the scheme design have included the removal and setting back of parts of the solar array in consideration of local viewpoints.
The UK Government and many local authorities, including Basingstoke and Deane 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 location of new energy infrastructure needed to help counter that very serious threat.
Colin Ramsay, Head of Development at BSR Energy said: “Our application follows Basingstoke and Deane District Council’s declaration of a climate emergency, and the emergence of national climate change targets that are enshrined in law. The pursuit of a reduction of carbon emissions is shared by both BSR and Basingstoke and Deane District Council. The local community’s opinions are critical for us in understanding how we can reduce the impact of our application. We have, as a result, interacted and listened closely to the feedback from the local community and have made amendments to our proposals in accordance with this feedback.”
To learn more about the proposal visit https://britishrenewables.com/projects/preston-farm-solar-park.