Botley West Solar Farm
Developers are proposing to establish a large solar farm to the west of Oxford within the districts of West Oxfordshire, Cherwell and the Vale of White Horse.
The scale of the proposal is so significant, that it cannot be determined by the district councils through a normal planning application process. The proposed solar farm would be considered as a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP). These are projects of certain types, over a certain size, which are considered by the Government to be so big and nationally important that permission to build them needs to be given at a national level, by the Government.
Instead of applying to the local authority for planning permission, the developer must apply to the Planning Inspectorate for a different permission called a Development Consent Order (DCO).
As a host authority, West Oxfordshire District Council will be closely involved in the decision making and examination process for this scheme, but will not make the final decision.
The developer is responsible for setting the timetable and consultation process for this project.
Responding to consultation
The developer consulted on their proposals for a 10 week period between 30 November 2023 and 8 February 2024.
West Oxfordshire District Council responded to the developer’s statutory consultation on 8 February 2024. The response can be downloaded below:
West Oxfordshire District Council responded to the consultation on the developer’s Scoping Report on 12 July 2023.
The Planning Inspectorate’s Scoping Opinion, which takes account of the WODC response can be accessed on the Planning Inspectorate’s website:
The developer will consider feedback received during the consultation to develop their proposals further.
Submission of the DCO application is expected during summer 2024.
Further information on the project can be found on the developer’s project website:
West Oxfordshire District Council will have a number of responsibilities throughout the decision making process, including the preparation of a Local Impact report. This will consider the local impacts of the solar farm on the local environment.
We will work with local communities throughout the process to ensure that local priorities and sensitivities are reflected in the local impact report.
A guidance note has been prepared to explain the DCO process and how the district council will work with partners and communities in the lead up to and throughout the examination of the solar farm proposal.
Any guidance notes and briefing notes along with this web page will be updated as more information becomes available.