BSR Barton Close Farm Solar Park, Devon

Land at Bakers Road, Belchamp St Paul is located 1km northwest of Belchamp St. Paul Village in Braintree, Essex. The village of Belchamp St. Paul is 1km to the southeast of the site and the hamlet of Knowl Green is 1.2km to its south.

In 2019 Braintree District Council declared a climate emergency, and central Government has also set out commitments for the United Kingdom to reach net zero by 2050. Additionally, the United Kingdom is 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 target of net zero by 2050 as well as the COP26 targets for keeping global temperature rise below 1.5°C.

Our proposals for Land at Bakers Road seek to:

  • Allow for a significant opportunity for green energy production in Braintree
  • Ensure a secure and stable supply of electricity 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
  • Secure the future of a local family farm, supporting ongoing agriculture in the area
  • Provide a Community Benefits Fund with a total funding allocation of £49,990 to support local projects and the local community
  • Allow the land to be returned to agricultural use following decommissioning with an operational lifespan of 40 years

For more information on the benefits of the proposal and to view further details, please see ‘The Proposals’ page of the website by clicking here.

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 By-Way and Public Right of Way (PROW); and
  • The creation of species rich grassland across the entire site, including rough grassland along the bases of existing vegetation.

Whilst the proposals are still being developed the exact number of panels is currently unknown. From similar developments that BSR has brought forward, approximately 94,000 Photovoltaic (Solar) panels will be required to generate 49.99MW of power. 

The panels will be an industry standard size as demonstrated by the images below. 

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.

The development of solar can help to support local farmers with additional income, offering a level of additional financial security to allow them to continue to grow crops and rear livestock. As such, the two elements complement and support each other. Solar development also allows for the land to be returned to agricultural use after the project lifespan. As such, should better renewable technology exist at this time, the land can be returned to its original use with no long-term detrimental impacts. 

Our consultation period has now closed. Thank you to everyone who provided their feedback.

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 4283 (freephone)

Emailing info@BSRknowlgreen.co.uk

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

Following an extensive review of all the feedback received as part of our recent public consultation, resulting in a number of changes to the proposals, a planning application has now been submitted to Braintree District Council (REFERENCE NUMBER: 23/01413/FUL). Thank you to all those who provided feedback.