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Botley West Solar Farm


A developer is proposing a large new solar farm, part of which will be within the Vale of White Horse district.

The developer proposing the Botley West Solar Farm believe it is large enough to be considered a ‘Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project’, which means it will be determined by a government appointed Planning Inspector – a brief summary of the process is as follows.

  1. The applicant is first required to consult with a range of people including the local community and relevant public authorities – the formal consultation is now underway and runs to 8 February 2024 – there’s more information on the Botley West Solar Farm website
  2. After this, they can submit the application and a government appointed Planning Inspector will determine if the application is suitable to go froward to a public examination.
  3. Should that be successful, the planning inspector will hear the views of interested parties, which can include members of the community, and then will go away to consider and examine all the details.
  4. The planning inspector then prepares a report and recommendation for the Secretary of State who then decides whether to grant or refuse permission.

The full process is explained here on the government’s website.

In detail

Developers are proposing to establish a large solar farm to the west of Oxford within the districts of West Oxfordshire, Cherwell and Vale of White Horse.

The scale of the proposal means it will not be considered by the district councils through the normal planning application process, but instead is considered a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP).

NSIPs are large scale projects falling into five general categories (energy; transport; water; waste water and waste) 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, rather than by the local authorities.

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).

The developer is responsible for setting the timetable and consultation process for this project.

The district council does not make the final decision on the proposal, but will be closely involved in the decision making and examination process.

Because of the scale of NSIPs, the process has many stages and can seem complicated. The planning inspectorate has a useful video which describes the different stages of the Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project planning process.

Current status

The proposal is in the pre-application phase. This is the first of the six phases of an NSIP planning application.

To date, officers and councillors have engaged with the developer team to discuss technical matters to be assessed and as part of the pre-application process have formally responded to:

More information

Further information on the project can be found on the developer’s project website:

We 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. 

Any guidance notes and briefing notes along with this web page will be updated as more information becomes available.

Contact us - Planning

01235 422600
(Text phone users add 18001 before dialing)

Vale of White Horse District Council
Abbey House
Abbey Close
OX14 3JE