Wychavon District Council planning committee has approved a new 30MW solar farm at Bishampton in Worcestershire. The installation will provide enough electricity to power nearly 8,000 homes and reduce local CO2 emissions by almost 10,000 tons every year. This will make it a major contributor to the Council’s ‘Intelligently Green Plan’, which includes a commitment to cut the carbon emissions of the councils operations by 75% by 2030 and sets an ambition to power the Councils towns and villages with 100% clean energy by 2050.

The development is by Aura Power, with Dulas managing the environmental planning aspects, including the co-ordination of specialist assessors to conduct specialist archaeology, landscape and other assessments. Dulas also acted as lead Planning Agent on the application, and successfully resolved several site issues on rights of way, archaeology and nature conservation during the planning process, resulting in near unanimous committee support.

The solar farm will provide clean and sustainable energy from its array of solar panels, and has the potential to store power generated when demand is low using on-site energy storage, located directly adjoining the 66kV electricity network. The local area will also potentially benefit from a community fund created from the revenue generated, which will benefit several local environmental schemes throughout the solar farm’s life. The site’s agricultural amenity will also be maintained through continued grazing for livestock, but large areas of the site will also be given over to biodiversity enhancements over the project’s lifetime.

Simon Coulson, Director and co-founder of Aura Power, welcomed the granting of approval saying ‘Well designed projects with robust community engagement are enjoying strong support. More and more councils are recognising the climate challenges we are facing and putting policies in place to address them.’

Rachel Kennedy, Senior Consultant Project Manager for Dulas, added ‘We are delighted to have secured permission for this scheme on behalf of Aura Power. Our role in informing the design of the solar farm to protect local features and amenity has been critical to the success of the project, and this consent marks yet another contribution to Dulas’s efforts across all our services and products to act at this time of climate emergency’.

Now approval has been granted, installation work is expected to start in Spring 2022, with the solar farm generating electricity later the same year.