Botley West Solar ‘Farm’ has been put forward during the ‘pre-application’ phase by Photovolt Development Partners GmbH (PVDP), as the developers. An Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) must be submitted as part of the formal application now being initiated by SolarFive Ltd. (the company formed by PVDP).
The purpose of the Scoping Report submitted to the government Planning Inspectorate (PINs) on 15th June 2023 is to trigger a response from the PINs, in the form of a written opinion, indicating the scope and level of detail and information they require SolarFive to provide in the EIS. It is therefore a ‘scoping request’. The scoping request has been made by PVDP on behalf of SolarFive Ltd. The full scoping request can be found here.
The Inspectorate is required to adopt a Scoping Opinion within 42 days of receiving a scoping request - which will be the 27th July 2023.
In reaching that opinion the Inspectorate is required to consult, as a minimum, with the prescribed consultation bodies. In this particular case, the main ones being consulted would seem to be:
If those consulted fail to respond, it is assumed they have no comments. It is therefore of the utmost – and immediate - importance to ensure that every Parish Council, Local, District and City Authority is fully aware of how the Oxfordshire community feels about this proposed development. Please urge your Parish / Town Council to start preparing their responses NOW!
The full details of the PINs process can be found here. There is no local consultation at this stage, but such consultation will be required and is covered in para. 1.3.3 of the Scoping Report:
“The Applicant will ensure that the local community and key stakeholders are informed about and consulted upon the proposals to construct, operate, and decommission the Project, prior to an application for development consent being made to the Secretary of State. A formal programme of consultation has been discussed, and a draft Statement of Community Consultation (SoCC) is to be agreed with the relevant host authorities. The Applicant also completed a first phase of informal consultation during November and December 2022.”
The Scoping Request submitted by PVDP can at this point be summarised as follows: