BSR Barton Close Farm Solar Park, Devon

Land at Leamington Road is located southwest of the village of Princethorpe, in the Rugby district of Warwickshire.

In 2019, Rugby Borough Council declared a climate emergency and committed to net zero by 2030. The Government’s recent Energy Security Strategy, which calls for a five-fold increase in solar energy by 2035 to help the UK reach a 95% clean grid and become less dependent on imports.

The United Kingdom is also facing a cost-of-living crisis, fuelled largely by concerns around energy security and rapidly rising costs of wholesale fossil fuels.

Solar energy is an affordable and efficient form of green energy which is an important part of ensuring the energy independence of the United Kingdom and working towards meeting the UK target of net zero by 2050.

BSR’s proposals for Land at Ash Tree Farm seek to:

  • Allow for a significant opportunity for green energy production in Rugby.
  • Ensure a secure and stable supply of electricity to power Warwickshire to help meet the Government’s target of net zero by 2050.
  • Support existing biodiversity to thrive on the site, as solar farms take up less than 5% of the land. This allows for plants to continue to grow and animals to still pass through the site.
  • Provide a minimum increase of 60% in Biodiversity Net Gain, which exceeds the 10% target outlined in the Environment Act 2021
  • Improvements in the condition of existing habitats and creation of new habitats to enhance biodiversity on site.
  • Allow the land to be returned to agricultural use following decommissioning with an operational lifespan of 40 years.

The proposals would have an operational lifespan of 40 years. Following this the solar farm would be decommissioned and the land could be returned to agricultural use.

Our proposal will result in at least a minimum of 60% increase in Biodiversity Net Gain for the site. This not only meets, but far exceeds, the minimum 10% target outlined by the government in the Environment Act 2021. As part of this, existing habitats on site will be retained and managed, to ensure that there is no detrimental impact on the existing condition of the habitat over the lifespan of the development.

Throughout the lifespan of the solar development, there is a significant opportunity for biodiversity to continue and thrive on the site. This is because solar developments take up less than 5% of the land, which will allow for plants to continue to grow and animals to still pass through the site.

We will also ensure that improvements are made to the condition of existing habitats, as well as facilitating the creation of new habitation which will enhance biodiversity on site. This could include:

  • The creation of new native hedgerows where required;
  • Infill hedgerow planting where gaps occur in the existing vegetation, for betterment of the existing landscape and along the Public Right of Way (PROW); and
    • New grassland and wildflower planting which will also enrich the area by the stream which runs along the eastern boundary.

Whilst the proposals are still being developed, the exact number of panels is currently unknown. From similar developments that BSR has brought forward, approximately 25,500 Photovoltaic (Solar) panels will be required to generate 16.8 MW of power.

The panels will be an industry standard size.

It is understood that the site is Grade 3 land, out of 5 possible grades, meaning it is Moderate-Good. An assessment has recently been undertaken to confirm the land grade. 

BSR selects sites for solar development based on where there is a viable grid connection nearby, as this can often be a factor which makes many sites unviable for solar development. BSR would always seek to select land of a low agricultural grade near to these connections, where these are available. The development of solar in this location will also allow the local farmer the opportunity for a guaranteed, stable income, compared to farming the land, supporting the farms wider activities.

There is currently an urgent need for alternatives to expensive, and polluting, fossil fuels in the UK. The need for solar development, and other forms of renewable power across the UK is crucial for the UK’s future energy security. As such, there is a need for solar development to come forward on a number of sites across the country.

Our consultation period has now closed. Thank you to all those that provided feedback.

There are still a number of ways you can contact the project team with any queries or concerns:

If you, or anyone you know, would benefit from hard copy information or accessible formats, these remain available on request by using the details listed above.

We expect to submit a planning application to Rugby Borough Council in Autumn 2023. 

If you have any questions about the proposals or need to speak with a member of the project team, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us by:

Calling 0800 058 4272 (freephone)

Emailing info@bsr-ashtree.co.uk

Completing the ‘Contact Us’ form here.

Calling 0800 058 4283 (freephone)

Emailing info@BSRknowlgreen.co.uk

By completing the Contact Us form available on the ‘Have Your Say’ page here.