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Monster solar farm planned for Green Belt

Monday, 14 January 2013 08:41

Solar farm at Watchfield in Oxfordshire Solar farm at Watchfield in Oxfordshire Photo: © Jane Tomlinson

A farmer wants to create a monster solar farm on 74.5 hectares (about 200 acres) of his land at Wadley Hill Farm between Barton and Beckley, just outside Oxford bang-slap in the green belt.

This would involve an array of more than 50,600 photo-voltaic panels each measuring 165cm long and 99cm in width, mounted on frames at ground level tilted at 25 degrees. If it goes ahead, it could provide power for about 3,000 homes.

The developers have applied to South Oxfordshire district council (SODC) for a pre-application opinion. SODC will give its opinion by the end of January before a formal planning application is submitted. We think that an Environmental Impact Asssessment is necessary in this case given the size and commercial nature of the proposed complex.

CPRE's Michael Tyce says: "Oxford is surrounded by hills so even if the panels aren’t very high and could be disguised by bushes and trees it would be seen from all around from higher ground. The Oxford green belt is there to preserve the openness of the countryside, and you are not doing this when you cover it in panels. However you try to dress this up, it is a power station. A industrial project like this is unacceptable.”  

Read the story in as it appeared in the Oxford Mail on Friday 11 January 2013

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