Kemble solar farm approved by Wiltshire and Cotswold Councils

Kemble solar

Cotswold District Council and Wiltshire Council have approved planning applications by Bristol-based Aura Power in partnership with The Bathurst Estate for a 49.9MW solar farm on land near Kemble, Cirencester.

Kemble Solar Farm is Aura Power’s third large scale solar farm to be approved planning permission in the last 12 months and contributes to a further 260MW of solar applications due to be determined over the next year.

The solar farm will provide a substantial contribution to local and national net-zero targets generating enough renewable electricity to supply the equivalent of over 12,000 typical homes, saving an estimated 21,000tonnes of CO2 per year.

New trees and hedgerows will form part of a comprehensive landscaping scheme around the site which will result in a Biodiversity Net Gain of 35 per cent.

Sheep will be grazed across the site for part of the year allowing the land to continue to play a productive farming role.

Peter Clegg, CEO, The Bathurst Estate, said: “The Estate has a strong focus on environmental stewardship and sustainability through our diverse activities. The solar farm will not only enhance this, but also provide an opportunity to explore supplying green power directly to the proposed new development at TheSteadings as well as the National Grid.

“We are all very aware of the impacts of climate change and are delighted that the Estate is able to play its part in reducing reliance on fossil fuels in the future.”

Simon Coulson, Director of Bristol-based Aura Power, said: “Aura is very pleased to be working with the Bathurst Estate on this project which will make a large contribution to Cotswold District Council’s declared climate emergency and ambitious decarbonisation strategy.

“In partnership with the Estate we consulted extensively with the nearest residents and local community, which resulted in the relocation of a number of panels, a robust landscaping plan for enhanced screening, and, mitigation measures to alleviate existing flooding”.

The Bathurst Estate already generates its own electricity from a biogas plant at Kemble Farms and has solar arrays on the roofs of several buildings, as well as air-source heat pumps on residential properties.

The solar farm includes a Community Benefit Fund of £17,500 per year, for its 40-year operational lifetime. A proportion would be set aside for educational sessions and site visits to the solar farm with the local schools.

Construction is expected to start in 2023 and the local community will be notified in advance when dates have been confirmed.