There are plans for a proposed Botley West Solar Farm that, if it went ahead, would be the fourth largest solar farm in the world (the first three are in China and India) and would occupy a total of more than 3,400 acres (more than 2,600 football fields) North and West of Oxford city, more than three quarters of which would be on Oxford’s green belt.
Consultations to respond to the first of only two developer-led consultations is open until December 15th, with a second due in Spring 2023. The Botley West proposal circumvents all local planning procedures and will go directly to the Government’s Planning Inspectorate for final approval as a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP).
There are three remaining chances to interact with the developers in this first consultation exercise – one on Wednesday November 30th, 1.30 to 5.30 p.m. in Cumnor Village Hall, OX2 9QF, one on Thursday December 1st, 5.30 p.m. to 7 p.m. in Begbroke Village Hall, OX5 1RN (this meeting is advertised on the developers website but is not listed in the brochure), and the other during a Community Webinar on December 5th, 5.30 to 7p.m. For the latter you must register your attendance in advance at this website
Please download a folder from this link which contains the consultation brochure from the proposers, two letters about the proposal in a recent issue of The Oxford Times, and some maps of the impact this will have on Oxford.
The Botley West Solar Farm, to be built on land owned by the Blenheim Estate and Merton College, would be in three sections; one North of Woodstock, between Wootton and Tackley (331 hectares, 818 acres) one, the largest, between Kidlington and Eynsham (983 hectares, 2429 acres) and one just North of Cumnor and West of Botley.(81 hectares, 200 acres). The three sites would be joined by a cable (above/below ground) and would feed into the national electricity grid via a new sub-station on the southern-most site near Botley (hence the solar farm’s name).
Layla Moran, MP for Oxford West and Abingdon has also expressed her reservations in an Oxford Mail article here.