A planning application for a new solar farm that could produce energy for 13,000 homes has been submitted to South Oxfordshire District Council.

The application, by renewable energy company RES, is for the 49.9MW Nuneham Solar Farm, located in Nuneham Courtenay.

The project promises clean, low-cost electricity, potentially saving around 20,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions annually that would have been produced by equivalent fossil fuel generation.

Site surveys, assessments, community and stakeholder feedback played roles in shaping the final design of the solar farm.

Amendments to the original design include the removal and relocation of solar infrastructure which has led to a reduction in the overall size of the site.

This has helped to ensure the project will fit sensitively into the existing landscape.

The solar infrastructure will be set back by a minimum distance of 8 metres from public footpaths on the site.

New planting is planned along sections of the footpaths to limit the visual impact of the solar farm, while preserving the existing agricultural views to the north of the site.

The solar farm has been designed to allow continued use of the land for sheep farming.

Managed by grazing sheep, the landscapes also support a diverse range of wildlife, while contributing to food production.

Claire Chamberlain, development project manager at RES, said: "Enhancing local biodiversity is important to RES as demonstrated by a comprehensive landscape masterplan which we have submitted alongside our planning application.

"This sets out immediate and long-term commitments to manage planting and other landscape measures and shows how our Nuneham Solar Farm proposal has the potential to deliver a biodiversity net gain of 70 per cent."

"Solar projects are quick to deploy, enable more energy to be generated domestically improving security of supply and contribute to net zero targets.

"They are also the cheapest form of new electricity generation, alongside other renewable technologies, which makes developments like Nuneham not just good for the environment but for the consumer too."

The project will include the creation of 2.7km of new native species-rich hedgerow and native tree planting, including enhancement to existing hedgerow.

This not only helps visually screen the site but also supplies wildlife corridors for mammals, birds, and insect species.

The planning application is available on the South Oxfordshire District Council Public Access website and RES’ project website.

A statutory consultation period will be advertised by the district council, providing an opportunity for the public and statutory consultees to submit their comments on the proposal.

These comments will then be assessed against the proposal before a decision is made.