Green Belt Solar Farm Application

Aerial Abingdon

11th April 2022

Planning is being sought for a solar farm near Burcot, South Oxfordshire – a 57 hectare site in the Oxford Green Belt. The site is just a short distance from the controversial 123 hectare site at Nuneham Courtenay that was recently granted permission.

CPRE Oxfordshire oppose the application. It is within the Oxford Green Belt and contrary to South Oxfordshire District Council’s Policy DES9 which says: Planning applications for renewable and low carbon energy generation will be supported, provided that they do not cause a significantly adverse effect to… the openness of the Green Belt.

Consultation closes on the 13th April, read and respond to the application on the South Oxfordshire District Council website.

CPRE Oxfordshire acknowledges that climate change, energy security and fuel prices all mean that increasing renewable energy is vital.  But we also need our countryside for food, wildlife and people’s health and well-being. 

Solar panels should be on commercial roofs, new housing developments and brownfield sites, not Green Belt land. We are calling for a county wide strategy so that we get what is needed in the right locations, rather than being at the whim of speculative developers.

With applications increasing dramatically, we have published a map showing existing solar installations in the county and those currently under consideration.

See:   Oxfordshire Solar Farms Map, March 2022

Nationally, CPRE supports the Climate Change Committee’s ambition for 54GW of solar photovoltaics in the UK by 2035.  CPRE believes this can be achieved without harmful impacts on the countryside, and will vigorously campaign for robust, positive planning policies to make that possible.

There are around 250,000 hectares of commercial, south-facing roof space in the UK.  Fully utilising that roof space for solar panels could generate enough electricity to power every home in the UK – or, put another way, 36% of the total electricity demand for all of the UK’s needs.