Barnard Gate solar farm plans go on show

Witney Gazette: Dr Fred Wright, left, with Tom Illsley, of Solarcentury, and a solar power module Dr Fred Wright, left, with Tom Illsley, of Solarcentury, and a solar power module

A SOLAR farm which could provide electricity for 4,000 homes is being proposed for a site at Barnard Gate, adjacent to the A40.

Solarcentury is behind the plans for the 64-acre complex of solar panels at Salutation Farm, midway between Witney and Eynsham.

It is one of four new solar farms being proposed for Oxfordshire. If they all went ahead they would cover an area the size of 225 football pitches and generate enough power for 18,000 homes.

The power would be fed into the National Grid and be distributed to homes across the UK.

The plans for the Barnard Gate site went on display to the public at a consultation event held at Eynsham Village Hall on Friday. The company said the site was selected because it was well screened from the surrounding area.

Eynsham parish councillor and village hall chairman Dr Fred Wright said: “There weren’t very many people who attended but those who did thought it wasn’t a bad idea, to be honest.

“I’m not sure if there will be a huge backlash against the plans.”

Tom Illsley, of Solarcentury, said: “We were pleased with how the event went. It was nice to meet local people and hear the many supportive and constructive comments. For those that could not make the event, they still have time to comment via our website or by writing to us.” However, the Oxfordshire Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) is against the solar farms proposals.

Member Michael Tyce said: “There shouldn’t be any in Oxfordshire, because of the damage they do, with such little result. It’s not sunny enough in England.

“They produce tiny amounts of electricity and cover acres and acres of countryside.

“And it’s madness to take land out of useful food production and cover it in solar panels.”

He put the boom in solar panel projects down to financial incentives offered by the Government in 2010.

A planning application for the Barnard Gate project has yet to be submitted to West Oxfordshire District Council.

Comments (2)

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9:08am Wed 21 Aug 13

wantagejack says...

'Damage they do?' What on earth are CPRE on about? The panels should be sited on low grade agricultural land which can then still be used for grazing, while encouraging wildlife and plants. There is plenty of solar energy potential in England. After 25 years or whenever, the panels will be removed and the land is again available for other use or agriculture. Unlike wind turbines, they do not involve massive amounts of concrete and are not visually intrusive.
'Damage they do?' What on earth are CPRE on about? The panels should be sited on low grade agricultural land which can then still be used for grazing, while encouraging wildlife and plants. There is plenty of solar energy potential in England. After 25 years or whenever, the panels will be removed and the land is again available for other use or agriculture. Unlike wind turbines, they do not involve massive amounts of concrete and are not visually intrusive. wantagejack

10:33am Wed 21 Aug 13

richwitney says...

In other news, Oxon CPRE deny that the earth is rounded, and that all progress is evil.
In other news, Oxon CPRE deny that the earth is rounded, and that all progress is evil. richwitney

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