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News  »  Solar farm at Nineveh Farm

   Solar farm at Nineveh Farm    15 May, 2020

From the Clerk to the Parish council:

Solar farm at Nineveh Farm
Villagers will be receiving a leaflet from Enso Energy concerning a solar farm on land south west of the Cowley Substation.  Below is a briefing paper sent to councillors based on two pre-submission documents from the company.  You can read about it as described by the developer here.

The site will abut Marsh, Nuneham and much of the A4074:

Villagers will have the opportunity to respond to the plan using the feedback form in the leaflet.  Deadline for submissions is Friday 29 May.

Proposal:  Create a 50MW solar farm on six fields at Nineveh farm,
Site:  Six adjoining fields producing a site of about 123 hectares. Site has been selected because it is close to the Cowley Substation and consent has already been granted, in July 2019, for the construction of a 49.9MW battery storage on land south of the substation.
Development:  The six fields would house solar panels which would tilt during the day to maximise energy absorption.  In addition, there would be 20 battery storage containers, which would be housed in shipping containers (12m x 2.4m x 2.6m high).  Construction would take around 30 weeks and involve, on average 8 deliveries by HGVs per day.  All cables would be buried underground.  Vehicles would enter and leave via the A4074 using the existing farm access (north of Nuneham Courtenay).
Duration:  The estimate life-span of the project is 35 years.  Decommissioning would take about 16 weeks and the land would be returned to agricultural use.
Benefits:  Generate approximately 72,000MWh of electrical energy, providing enough energy to meet the annual electrical needs of around 19,000 homes.  Carbon emission savings will be 18,500 tonnes per year; the equivalent of 8,500 cars. 
Possible impact:  In the detailed Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report, the applicants have identified the following possible impacts:

  • Landscape and visual impacts:  the site does not fall in the direction of any of the ‘key views’ identified in local planning policy
  • Heritage impacts: possibly low
  • Impacts of biodiversity: possibly high but a number of measures can mitigate the impact
  • Impacts on amenity (glint and glare and noise);
  • Loss of agricultural land (70% is less than optimal quality and will improve with rest).  Land can still be used for low-intensity sheep farming.
  • Flood risk impacts:  the majority of the site has a very low surface water flood risk
  • Traffic impacts and access; the A4074 is a major trunk road, running through Nuneham Courtney; a listed village.

A number of measures are proposed to reduce the possible negative impact of the development:

  • New woodland planting and enhancement of the existing field and boundary vegetation leading to increased biodiversity and creation of new potential habitats eg skylarks.
  • Creation of buffer zones around sensitive locations such as badger sets, mature trees and great crested newt ponds.
  • Produce species-rich grassland and meadows amongst the solar panels and at field margins and corners, thereby increasing the range of habitats available and the creation of ecological corridors.  Link these ecological enhancements with the existing surrounding areas of nature conservation.
  • Creating buffers around public rights of way through the Site to maintain their recreational amenity.  The Oxford Green Belt Way (a PROW) follows the southern and eastern boundary of the Site before passing through Field 4, and a public footpath (PROW 118/14) crosses the Site between Fields 5 and 6 linking Nineveh Farm to The Baldons.
  • Removing solar panels located on higher elevated areas where views of these are readily available from the surrounding landscape.
  • Routing all vehicles from the Ring Road and down the A4074 would prevent vehicles from travelling through Nuneham Courtney.


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