Blenheim Estates Solar Farm Plans Come to Light
3rd November 2022
CPRE Oxfordshire is concerned to hear of a large-scale solar farm development proposed by Blenheim Estates.
The development would cover 1,000 hectares over three sites: Woodstock/Blenheim, Eynsham and Cumnor. The size of the project is so enormous – covering 100 international rugby pitches in total – that it would be considered a national infrastructure project.
We wait to study the proposals to comment in more detail. We support renewables in the right place but have great concern about the amount of Oxfordshire agricultural land that is being given over to commercial solar farm development. CPRE would oppose the Cumnor site outright as it is in the protected Oxford Green Belt.
Helen Marshall, Director of CPRE Oxfordshire:
“Climate change, energy security and fuel prices all mean that increasing renewable energy is vital. But we also need our countryside! Preserving our countryside is an essential counterbalance to climate change and nature recovery. Oxfordshire Pathways to Net Zero team have suggested that at the most 1% of Oxfordshire needs to be used for solar. This development would be almost half of Oxfordshire’s total solar requirement but at the cost of agricultural land and public green space, rather than making use of roofs or brownfield land.”
CPRE Oxfordshire continues to call for a county wide strategy for the location of renewable energy. With the rate of applications still increasing, farmland, open countryside and Green Belt are at risk. Due to the potential impact of the Blenheim Estates proposed solar farm we would urge our District Councils to put other solar farm developments on hold until the outcome of this development is decided.
The Phase 1 ‘Community Consultation consultation closes 22nd December find out more on the Botley West project website. Our final response can be downloaded below.
Consultation events will be held:
Woodstock Community Centre New Road, OX20 1PB Saturday 19 November 11am – 4pm
Hanborough Pavilion & Village Hall Roosevelt Road, OX29 8JG Wednesday 23 November 12.30 pm – 4.30pm
Cassington Village Hall The Green, OX29 4AX Friday 25 November 1pm – 5pm
Tackley Village Hall Medcroft Road, OX5 3AH Saturday 26 November 11am – 3pm
Cumnor Village Hall Leys Road, OX2 9QF Wednesday 30 November 1.30pm – 5.30pm
Community Webinar Online Monday 5 December 5.30pm – 7pm
Details on how to access the Community Webinar can be found on the website: www.botleywest.co.uk
Download the CPRE Oxfordshire flyer below to find out more, for some ideas of what to ask the developers and how you can get involved.