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General

What is the effect of Merton College's land being removed?

Land owned by Merton College, which previously made up a small part of the site on which we are proposing to develop Botley West Solar Farm, is no longer available to us. In light of this change, we will take the opportunity to review our proposals for the scheme. This does not affect the viability of the project.

We remain committed to developing a scheme that could deliver approximately 840MW of renewable energy and make a significant contribution towards delivering energy security for the UK and achieving Net Zero targets.

Once we have reviewed our proposals, we will hold a second stage of consultation, details of which will be confirmed shortly. We would encourage anyone with an interest in the project to register their details with us, so that we can provide you with information about future engagement  and consultation activity as soon as it becomes available.  

Why do we need Botley West?

Botley West will deliver secure homegrown power directly to the National Grid, helping to reduce our reliance on imported energy, and could generate enough low-cost clean and renewable electricity to power approximately 330,000 homes. 

Supporting Oxfordshire’s ambitious climate targets 

Oxfordshire is leading the way in the fight against climate change, with ambitious targets that can make a real difference. The Oxfordshire Energy Strategy, signed up to by all councils within Oxfordshire, has been adopted to act against climate change. 

Botley West will contribute to decarbonising our electricity grid, significantly helping to deliver Oxfordshire’s transition to net-zero by removing 14.4 million tonnes of carbon over its operational lifetime. This will contribute to  achieving Oxfordshire’s Energy Strategy agreed target of 50% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030, and 100% net zero carbon emissions by 2050. 

Why here in Oxfordshire?

The location of the proposed site was driven by several different factors. Discussions were held with National Grid to identify where their priorities were to meet demand and manage the UK electricity supply network. As a result, PVDP became aware that National Grid had decided to invest in reinforcing and extending the grid network in the area, partly in response to Oxfordshire’s fast-growing economy and the increasing demand for electricity. Following these discussions, a high-level site search exercise was undertaken by PVDP to consider the availability and suitability of land to accommodate a solar farm.  

Those elements in combination led to focus on land in Oxfordshire and ultimately to the proposed application site. The precise project boundaries and overall size of the project have been influenced by landownership, commercial viability and availability of a grid connection. The boundaries have been continually refined based on known or assumed physical and environmental constraints.  

The proposals are being developed through agreement with supportive landowners with a genuine and long-standing connection to the local area, predominantly Blenheim Estate. By working with forward-thinking landowners, Botley West will be developed to align with their long-term strategies for sustainably managing their estates.  

Ambitious climate targets have been set at both the national and local level, with Oxfordshire Local Authorities leading the charge with their climate goals. Botley West will make a significant contribution towards achieving these.  

 

Why is the solar farm called Botley West?

It is common practice for power stations to be named after their point of connection. Botley West Solar Farm will connect into a new National Grid substation, proposed to be built and located west of Botley, hence the name Botley West. 

Why do we need solar power?

The UK is seeing the effects of climate change like never before, last summer experiencing the hottest day ever on record. The UK government recognises the importance of clean, affordable energy to decarbonise the electricity system in the continuing fight against climate change. 

Solar power is the most affordable electricity in the UK, requiring no direct subsidies at extra cost to the taxpayer. The cost of solar power in the UK has fallen by 78% since 2014 (Bloomberg NEF) and the UK has an abundance of renewable energy sources. Solar has a key part to play in the sustainable solution to reducing our reliance on fossil fuels and expensive imported energy. 

Recent global events have further emphasised the importance of energy security to the UK. Homegrown renewable electricity is key to securing a reliable source of power for UK homes and businesses in the long-term. 

Oxfordshire is leading the fight against climate change with ambitious targets that can make a real difference. The Oxfordshire Energy Strategy, signed up to by all councils within Oxfordshire includes:

  • Calls for a 50% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030
  • A five-fold increase in solar energy by 2030

The Oxfordshire Energy Strategy sets out that ‘The majority of low carbon energy needed in Oxfordshire is likely to be met by solar PV’. Botley West Solar Farm will contribute significantly to this target, helping both the County and the nation in the fight against climate change by delivering a secure supply of low carbon power. 

If the UK has nuclear power stations, why does it need solar power generation?

The UK is planning to decommission all but one of its nuclear power stations by 2028. It has one nuclear power station in construction, and this is not expected to be operational until 2030. The UK's last coal power station will close in September 2024.

This leaves the National Grid with a large ‘thermal gap’, which is why the government has called for 70 gigawatts (GW) of solar generation to be built by 2035, with 40 GW operational by 2030. Solar is a reliable source of power generation, with low maintenance costs, no use of fossil fuels and a statistically low deviation from the average solar irradiation. Solar panel technology is constantly being improved, with efficiency rising and cost falling. Solar panels still produce electricity on cloudy or rainy days. 

Is solar a proven technology?

Solar panels have been used to make electricity for more than 50 years. The International Energy Agency estimates that solar generation accounts for 3.6% of global energy generation. There are different types of solar panels and technologies to manufacture them: we intend to use a proven technology based on monocrystalline silicone cells. The cells are encapsulated in solid glass panels that protect them and ensure that they are completely sealed.   

Who is behind Botley West Solar Farm?

Botley West Solar Farm is being promoted by Photovolt Development Partners (PVDP). The company has an 18-year track record of successfully delivering large-scale solar projects in Europe and Japan. The company’s management has previously delivered projects in Spain, Italy, Germany and France. 

PVDP has established a UK limited company – SolarFive Ltd – as a special purpose vehicle (SPV) for developing Botley West. This is common practice for developing schemes such as this. 

Botley West Solar Farm is being funded from previous earnings generated by the developers from solar projects in Japan. Financial statements and corporate information on all entities involved are publicly available.

SolarFive Ltd holds the connection agreement with National Grid and is licensed by Ofgem as an electricity generator. Ofgem conducted due diligence on PVDP and SolarFive when considering whether to grant the relevant licenses. 

PVDP does not accept recent allegations made against certain individuals and the financial arrangements of the company.

 

What is Blenheim Estate’s involvement in the project?

Photovolt Development Partners (PVDP) is the developer of the project, and is undertaking all environmental, technical and community consultation work relating to Botley West Solar Farm. The application to the Planning Inspectorate will be made by PVDP. 

Blenheim Estate is the main landowner for the project. PVDP intends to lease the land from Blenheim Estate alongside other supportive landowners in the local area. This is a common arrangement when developing solar farms in the UK. 

Botley West Solar Farm is not related to any other development on land owned by Blenheim Estate. 

 

Is PVDP involved in any other solar farms in the local area?

PVDP is aware of other proposals to develop solar farms in the local area. PVDP, Blenheim Estate and Botley West Solar Farm are not involved with any of these developments.

When the Development Consent Order (DCO) application is submitted to the Planning Inspectorate, it will include an assessment of the cumulative impacts of developments in the local area. This will include any other solar farms that are proposed, recently granted planning permission or in construction, in addition to any other residential and commercial developments. 

 

Why can’t solar panels be installed on rooftops instead?

Rooftop solar power is an important component in achieving the UK’s legally binding net zero climate targets and Botley West Solar Farm is supportive of more solar panels being installed on rooftops, where appropriate and viable.

However, to attain the required output of clean, sustainable and homegrown electricity to achieve the transition to a decarbonised energy system, ground-mounted solar farms are also vital. To generate a similar amount of electricity to ground-mounted solar, a very large number of homes and businesses would have to instal solar panels on their roofs. This poses a number of legal, technical and transmission issues.  

Ground-mounted projects, like Botley West Solar Farm, are far more efficient and economically beneficial in generating the power required to support the National Grid. This is due to a host of factors, including the efficiency of transporting the energy produced by the solar panels to a point of connection on the National Grid and the ability to orientate the solar panels to achieve the best possible power output from the light that is available. 

Where will the solar panels be sourced from?

The procurement of the solar panels and supporting equipment for Botley West Solar Farm has not yet been decided. If planning consent is granted, construction would start no sooner than 2025 and a decision will be taken on the procurement of equipment based on commercial and supply chain availability at the time. 

PVDP has previously used many different panel manufacturers on projects that are already in operation in Europe and Japan. 

The planning process and project timescale

What is the DCO process?

As the capacity of Botley West Solar Farm will exceed 50 megawatts (MW), the project is classed as a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP). An NSIP can only gain consent by the submission of a Development Consent Order (DCO) application to the Planning Inspectorate (PINS). The final decision will be taken by the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

The DCO process is different from a Town and Country Planning Act application. There is a statutory obligation for the project to consult with local communities and stakeholders, allowing them to help shape and influence the design and details of Botley West Solar Farm. The process is thus:

Two rounds of consultation for communities to provide their feedback.

Feedback will be recorded in the project Consultation Report, which will be submitted to the Planning Inspectorate as part of the DCO application.

PINS will review the application and conduct a robust examination of the application before providing a recommendation to the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

The Secretary of State will then make the final decision on whether to grant consent for Botley West Solar Farm.

At what stage is the project now?

We have begun early engagement with local authorities, undertaken our Phase One public consultation from 3rd November 2022 to 22nd December 2022 and submitted our Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Scoping Request to the Planning Inspectorate (PINS). Our Scoping Report was successfully submitted to PINS on 15th June 2023 and is available to view on their website, along with their Scoping Opinion, which we have taken into account in advancing our EIA work.  

Phase Two consultation is now live from 30th November 2023, and will run for ten weeks until 8th February 2024. We encourage you to submit your feedback on our updated proposals during this time, as we continue to undertake extensive environmental assessments and engage with relevant groups and stakeholders. 

Ahead of this phase, we have consulted with Local Planning Authorities (LPAs) on the draft Statement of Community Consultation (SoCC) and have published our final SoCC. The SoCC sets out our plans for the consultation before it begins so stakeholders and local residents know what we are planning to do and can get ready to participate in our consultation. 

As is shown in the timeline on the homepage of our website, the EIA process is broken down into three main phases: the first is Scoping, the second is the Preliminary Environmental Information Report (PEIR), and the third is the Environmental Statement (ES) which will be included in our DCO application submission. We have published the PEIR and are now consulting on it.  You can read and download it in the Document Library section of this website. 

EIA Scoping refers to a report that provides an overview of the development proposed and the environmental baseline surveys that we intend to undertake. It also includes a description of how we will assess any likely significant environmental effects, and the proposed scope and content of the EIA and ES. 

The PEIR  builds upon the Scoping Report and environmental assessments, as well as feedback received through consultation. It will set out the preliminary findings from the work we are undertaking for preparation of the ES and will provide sufficient information to allow consultees to form an informed view of the likely significant environmental effects of our proposals. The PEIR is available as part of our  Phase Two Statutory Consultation, allowing stakeholders and the public to develop an informed view of the potential impacts Botley West Solar Farm may have on the local environment. 

Our Development Consent Order (DCO) application is planned for submission to PINS in Summer 2024. The Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero will then have 28 days to decide whether to accept the application for public examination. If accepted, there is a period of up to 6 months to carry out the public examination. Once the examination closes, the Examining Authority then has a period of 3 months to make a recommendation to the Secretary of State as to whether the application should be granted. The Secretary of State then has another 3 months to review and decide whether to grant the DCO.  

This means that the construction of Botley West Solar Farm would begin, at the earliest, in the first half of 2025. For further details, please refer to our timeline on page 21 of our latest community consultation leaflet. 

Does the planning process for an NSIP include input from local communities and representative organisations?

As the intended capacity of Botley West Solar Farm will exceed 50 megawatts (MW), the project is classed as a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP). An NSIP can only gain planning consent by the submission of a Development Consent Order (DCO) application to the Planning Inspectorate (PINS). The final decision will be taken by the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and industrial Strategy (BEIS). 

The DCO process we are required to follow for this project is set out in the Planning Act (2008). This legislation places statutory requirements on developers to consult extensively with the local community and other key stakeholders in the vicinity of the proposed development. Botley West Solar Farm is holding two stages of community consultation, to give local communities and other key stakeholders as much opportunity as possible to provide feedback on the proposals and help shape the design of the project before it is submitted to the Planning Inspectorate. 

The project is also legally obliged to consult with all host local authorities in the area; this includes consulting with these organisations on the development of our Statement of Community Consultation (SoCC), which we published in November 2023. This ensures the project team is fully aware of the  local input from phase one of the  consultation process, and the approach to phase two can be tailored to meet the needs of the local community.  Host parish councils are also considered as statutory consultees and will be contacted to be made aware of the details of the upcoming second stage of community consultation and asked to provide feedback to help shape the proposals for Botley West Solar Farm. 

If Botley West is given planning permission, does this change the categorisation of the land from green belt to brownfield?

Previously Developed Land (also known as brownfield land) is defined in Annex 2 of the National Planning Policy Framework (July 2021). 

The use of the land as a solar farm doesn’t confer ‘brownfield’ status upon it, primarily because the proposals are temporary and the arrays will be removed on expiry of any consent granted. The decommissioning of the facility is expected to be a requirement of the consent. 

Ambitious climate targets have been set at both the national and local level, with Oxfordshire Local Authorities leading the charge with their climate goals. Botley West will make a significant contribution towards achieving these.  

 

What will happen at the end of Botley West Solar Farm's operational life?

At the end of Botley West’s operation a robust decommissioning plan will be put into action. This plan will be included within our Development Consent Order (DCO) application, when acquiring consent  to build Botley West. The plan will set out how the infrastructure will be removed and the land reinstated. At the end of the period of consent, the land returns to agricultural use. A dedicated decommissioning reserve will be created which will cover the costs of removal and reinstatement. The overall lifetime of Botley West Solar Farm is currently anticipated to be circa 42 years.

As part of this plan, we will be working with landowners and relevant stakeholders to explore how particular features of our proposals – such as planting, landscaping and permissive access – could provide continued benefits by remaining in place beyond the life of the solar farm.  

Technical

How many homes will Botley West be able to power?

The initial proposals are for the solar farm to be sited within approximately 900 hectares of land within a wider site area of approximately 1,300 hectares. PVDP has established a UK company, SolarFive Ltd. to develop Botley West. SolarFive holds the connection agreement with National Grid to supply 840 MW of electricity at a strategic location in their network. Botley West Solar Farm is being designed to fulfil this capacity need as efficiently as possible.  

For context, 840 MW is the equivalent power used by approximately 330,000 UK homes. That means Botley West could supply enough clean electricity to supply every home in Oxfordshire.

How did you calculate these numbers?

We appreciate that electricity figures can sometimes need explaining.  

The 840 MW we have referenced is the transmission entry capacity for Botley West. This is the amount of electricity that it can supply to National Grid, in line with our agreement with them. To achieve this, we would likely design Botley West to be able to generate 890 MW, to compensate for any losses as the electricity is transported to the point of interconnection and for any electrical ancillary services requested by National Grid. 

We then have to apply a series of factors (a power utility factor, oversizing factor, and a specific yield estimate), to understand how much usable electricity will likely be distributed across the National Grid. This figure is converted to kilowatt hours (kWh), as this is the standard way of measuring energy in the home.  

These calculations show that Botley West is expected to produce 1,256,539,474 kWh. 

We recognise that there are a range of available figures for calculating average energy consumption per household, as the results often depend on various factors. For these calculations we have decided to use government data according to the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), that the average household uses 3,731 kWh per year (Source: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1020155/2020_consumption_tables_-_web_copy.ods) 

Therefore, we can estimate that Botley West could produce enough clean electricity to meet the needs of around 330,000 UK households (1,256,539,474 kWh / 3,731 kWh).  

The 2021 census recorded 288,100 households in Oxfordshire, an increase of 11.3% from the 2011 census. Therefore, to help provide context of the generating capacity of Botley West, we have said it could provide enough electricity to power every home in Oxfordshire.  

Our calculations: 

 

840 MW = 840,000 kW (Conversion of megawatts to kilowatts) 

 

840,000 (AC Feed-in Capacity for Botley West) + 50,000 (AC Losses/AC Network Compensation) = 890,000 kW 

 

890,000/0.95 (Power Utility Factor) = 936,842 kVA 

 

936,842 x 1.45 (Oversizing Factor DC/AC) = 1,358,421 kWp 

 

1,358,421 x 925 (Specific Yield Estimate) = 1,256,539,474 kWh 

 

1,256,539,474/3,731 (UK Household Consumption) = 336,784 households 

 

How will Botley West Solar Farm connect to the National Grid?

National Grid have provided Botley West Solar Farm with a connection for a capacity of 840 MW at a new National Grid substation, connecting to the existing Walham – Cowley 400kV overhead line.  

The exact location of National Grid’s substation is yet to be determined; it is a decision that National Grid will make shortly.

Where will the new substation be located for Botley West?

The location, design and detail of the new substation proposed for the local area are within the remit of National Grid and is independent from this project. National Grid will prepare a planning application for the new substation and progress this through the Town and Country Planning Act (1990), determined by the relevant local authority. 

 

Where will the cable routes be?

Botley West Solar Farm will be connected by underground electrical cables within each section of the site and to the substation at the grid connection point. The interconnecting cable route will largely follow the public highway, but some parts will cross the project site. We are considering a number of cabling options for the project to cross the River Thames. It is intended to cross existing features such as the river using horizontal directional drilling (HDD). The cable route option areas are presented in the Phase Two Concept Plans. More details of the route options are shown in the Illustrative Masterplan, which can be found  in Figs 2.4A, 2.4B and 2.4C in the PEIR.  

Is battery storage being proposed for Botley West Solar Farm?

Battery storage is not being proposed for Botley West Solar Farm. Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESS) have many benefits, however, the need for these systems and their efficiency are highly dependent on the specific grid capacity and constraints of a particular area. National Grid already has a significant number of connection agreements across the local area for battery storage projects.  

Through our technical assessments and discussions with key stakeholders, it has been determined that battery storage is not required at this location. 

We believe that battery storage is best installed on brownfield sites. Other developers have installed batteries at a number of National Grid substations, including Cowley. The total electricity storage pipeline for the UK currently exceeds 90GW. (Source NG TEC register and ENA DNO Embedded Capacity Register). 

Will the panels be recycled when the solar farm is removed?

Yes, all materials used for Botley West will be recyclable as practically as possible. 

Up to 99% of materials in a solar panel are recyclable, and there are well-established industrial processes to do this.  

A solar panel is made of a frame (typically aluminium), glass, crystalline, silicon solar cells, and copper wiring, all of which can be extracted, separated, and recycled or reused. The remaining one percent is an encapsulant material which bonds the layers of a panel together.

At the end of the project, PVDP is responsible for  decommissioning the site and returning the land to its original condition and use. Our objective will be to return the whole site in a better condition, in particular the soil, hedge rows and mature trees.  As part of the Development Consent Order, we will be preparing a comprehensive proposal on how we will manage the decommissioning, including the recycling of all materials used in the construction.  

Environmental

What is the Preliminary Environmental Information Report (PEIR)

For Phase Two, we have prepared a Preliminary Environmental Information Report (PEIR) to deliver the initial findings of these assessments, to help consultees come to an informed view of the environmental impacts of Botley West. This has built upon the initial EIA scoping report, the Planning Inspectorate (PINS) Scoping Opinion and environmental assessments, in addition to the consultation feedback. The details of the PEIR are part of what is consulted on at the second phase of community consultation and can be found on our project website. These documents are also available at our Community Access Points, listed on page 23 of our Community Consultation Leaflet, and at our Community Information Events.    

How will Botley West affect the use of agricultural land? What grade of agricultural land will Botley West be built on?

We recognise the importance of agricultural land, and we are developing our plans to manage potential impacts. The current concept will already  provide the opportunity for continued agricultural use, such as sheep grazing, bee keeping, allotments and community gardens. Our proposals further present an opportunity to improve the condition of the soil within the site area, as well as increasing the amount of carbon stored in that soil. 

In assessing land use and agriculture, we have been conducting a number of Agricultural Land Classification (ALC) surveys. From our initial assessments, approximately 62% of the surveyed land falls under the category of lower-quality Subgrade 3b agricultural land, while 38% consists of Best and Most Versatile (BMV) agricultural land (ALC Grades 1-3a), with the majority of that land classed as 3a, which represents pockets of land across the site. The ALC Survey Map can be found in Figure 17.3 of the PEIR.  

Botley West intends to implement a comprehensive Soil Management Plan, an outline of which will be set out in the Environmental Statement (ES). 

   

What are the black boxes at the start of some of the walking routes on Blenheim land?

The black boxes on new wooden posts are bi-directional people-counters. Similar sensors  are already in place across Blenheim Estate and are part of a wider sensor network, the data from which are available for schools and the public to use.   

The data will help inform Blenheim of walking patterns on their land and will also be used by the technical teams working on Botley West Solar Farm as we refine the proposals for the project. Blenheim also monitor air quality and water levels, which is also publicly available information .   

Data from the sensors are available here.   

Do the maps in the Scoping Report show additional fields of panels on the cable corridors?

There are no  fields of solar panels on the cable corridors and the total area occupied by the arrays has been reduced by 11.72 hectares. The red lines between the three sites indicate potential cable routes, not additional fields of solar panels. The red lines to the east of Eynsham indicate the two options for the cable corridor at the point where it crosses the Thames near Swinford Bridge.   

The site layout of solar panels and cable routes will be set out clearly in the consultation materials for our Phase Two consultation in the Autumn.   

The UK cannot afford to lose this land from food production

Climate change poses one of the most serious threats to food production in the UK. DEFRA has estimated that climate change could reduce the UK’s stock of high-grade agricultural land by three quarters by 2050. The high cost of energy is another threat to farming that can be addressed by low-cost solar energy. The issue of loss of food production will be reported on within the Environmental Statement that will accompany the DCO submission. 

The benefits of renewable energy generation need to be balanced against the use of land for food production. None of the farmers leasing us land is ceasing farming. 

Botley West Solar Farm is proposing areas for the community to grow food on site. As part of this, we are engaging with groups such as Cherwell Collective and Cutteslowe Community Larder. During Phase Two Consultation, we are seeking feedback on where members of the community would prefer these areas to be. This could include areas being located near to a particular residential area, or further into the site area. 

 

Will Botley West Solar Farm have an adverse impact on local ecology, wildlife and biodiversity?

In assessing the local ecology and biodiversity of the project site we have been undertaking site-specific surveys, investigated habitats, and studied the various species in the area.  

There are mitigation measures that the project incorporates to ensure the effects on ecology is minimised. These include: 

  • Establishing a minimum 8m buffer zone for hedgerows, trees, ponds and woodland, an 8m buffer for watercourses and 15m for ancient woodland.  
  • No removal of hedgerows, woodland, waterbodies, or watercourses. 
  • Establishing new skylark plots between the solar rays.  
  • Creating a new landscape-scale corridor along the River Evenlode.  

PVDP is working with Blenheim Estate to ensure there is long term environmental stewardship in place, with the primary goal of supporting the project to achieve a substantial biodiversity net gain within the area, of at least 70%. These include: 

  • Establishing bee hives on the site. 
  • Providing log piles and other refugia. 
  • Putting bird and bat boxes on trees. 

More information on this can be found in Chapter 9 (Ecology and Nature Conservation) of the PEIR. 

 

Botley West Solar Farm is disregarding the Green Belt

In order to justify the project being situated in the Oxford Green Belt, our DCO application will include material outlining the Very Special Circumstances that justify constructing a solar farm in this location, and how the benefits of the proposals outweigh the harm to the Green Belt. 

It should be noted that the consent being sought by the project is temporary, meaning all panels and equipment will be removed after 40 years with the land reverting back to agricultural use. 

Will public access be limited due to Botley West Solar Farm?

Botley West Solar Farm intends to retain all existing public rights of way (PRoW) throughout the project area. While temporary diversions may be necessary for safety during construction, our objective is to minimise inconvenience to users. Throughout operation, all existing routes will remain unaltered. 

In accessing the recreation and amenity of the site, the Botley West team have been exploring ways to increase the connectivity of the site through proposing new footpaths and cycle tracks. As part of this, we will establish a new footpath to connect Cassington and Church Hanborough. Additionally, we are enhancing the existing footpath connecting Bladon to Campsfield, located near the airport north of Begbroke, to transform it into a dedicated cycle route. Furthermore, we are exploring more opportunities where we can facilitate new routes and upgrade current ones. 

 

What are the carbon impacts of constructing a solar farm?

As with any form of development, there are carbon impacts when constructing a solar farm. An assessment of the net carbon impact of the project is available in the Preliminary Environmental Impact Report (PEIR). The whole-life impact of the Project has been determined to have a beneficial effect that is significant when comparing to current UK electricity grid factors. Although a significant initial carbon cost of manufacturing and installation is incurred, by achieving a carbon payback period of 10 years (earliest estimated payback period) and providing subsequent net negative emissions in operation, the Project meets policy goals for the rate of carbon reduction in the context of UK carbon budgets. 

This will also be considered in the Environmental Statement (ES) submitted with the Development Consent Order (DCO) application to the Planning Inspectorate. The operational life of Botley West Solar Farm is 40 years, a typical wind or gas power station is approximately 20 years. 

 

Consultation

What happens next?

Our second phase of consultation ran from Thursday 30th November 2023 to Thursday 8th February 2024.

We are now considering the feedback you gave us during the consultation to develop our proposals further. Additionally, we are continuing to engage with relevant groups and stakeholders, and undertake environmental assessments ahead of the submitting the DCO Application, anticipated to be in  Summer 2024.

What is the difference between Phase One and Phase Two consultation?

Our non- statutory Phase One consultation lasted seven weeks, from 3rd November 2022 until 22nd December 2022, which provided the opportunity for those interested in Botley West to share feedback on our early-stage proposals. This feedback was reviewed by the project team and this alongside environmental assessments informed our development design process. During our Phase Two Consultation (30th November 2023 until 8th February 2024) we sought feedback on our updated proposals, the Preliminary Environmental Information Report (PEIR), and our proposed enhancement and mitigation measures.  

Why has the consultation leaflet been printed in colour? Can it be recycled?

The Phase Two Community Consultation leaflet has been printed in a sustainable manner, on FSC approved paper. This is better for the environment than recycled paper, as it ensures that the paper is harvested in a responsible way and uses fewer chemicals than stripping down recycled paper. We have printed in colour using vegetable ink, which has less impact on the environment as this significantly reduces the amount of VOCs (volatile organic compounds) released into the air during printing. The Phase Two Community Consultation leaflet has been distributed to the core consultation zone but is also available to access online via the document library. 

Why haven't I received consultation materials? What is the Core Consultation Zone (CCZ)?

We have distributed the Phase Two Community Consultation leaflet to the Core Consultation Zone (CCZ). The CCZ which has been designed based on a principle of extending 2km from the site and 500m from the cable route, and further refined where appropriate, includes approximately 22,000 properties.  Ahead of each mail out, we update our list of addresses from the Royal Mail database. Section 6 of the Statement of Community Consultation (SoCC) provides further detail on the CCZ. 

However, all online versions of the consultation materials can be accessed via the document library section of the website. Please contact us to request physical copies of our consultation materials or collect them via our Community Access Points (Reasonable charges may apply). Please contact us if you require the documents in large print, audio, or braille formats. 

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