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Elms Farm

Solar Capacity
Hectares of Land
Tonnes of CO2 Saved Annually
Homes Powered

Current planning process status

  • Public Consultation
  • Revise Proposals
  • Application Submitted
  • Application Consultation
  • Decision on Application

About the project

Elms farm is a ground mount solar array located on land north of Wellesbourne, Warwickshire. Stratford-on-Avon District Council approved the planning application for a 25MWp Solar Farm. The array will produce enough electricity to power 5,623 homes in the district each year which is equivalent to 9.2% of houses in the district and would prevent c.5,300 Tonnes of carbon dioxide being released annually.

The site has been carefully selected and designed during a detailed assessment process considering grid availability, solar irradiance, heritage, landscape & amenity, ecology & environmental designations, access, agricultural land quality, and community engagement.

Planning approval was achieved in August 2022 and construction is anticipated to commence in Q3 2023. The site will operate for 40 years after which it will be decommissioned and the land reinstated.

Site Design

The iterative design process has informed a layout which provides a buffer from adjacent land uses and the setting of heritage assets. The site also benefits from mature and effective woodland screening, minimising visual impact from the settlement with additional planting planned around the site boundary adjacent to roads and footpaths to help screen potential views.

A bespoke biodiversity strategy has been prepared to ensure existing and new habitats are enhanced or created to benefit local wildlife. As part of this initiative, our landscape planting, seeding and habitat creation plan will focus on native species. The margins of the site outside the fence can be used for other habitat enhancements such as wildflower seeding. These initiatives will contribute to securing long term biodiversity net gain across the site.

The Equipment

Solar Panels: The solar panels will be mounted with a maximum rear height of 3.0m using frames fixed to the ground with piled posts or ground screws.

Inverters Units: Convert the power from DC to AC and are mounted on the back of the solar panels at intervals.

DNO Substation Building: A substation (approximately 5.05m x 4.8m x 3.5m (W x L x H)) is used to connect the solar farm to the local electricity network and meter the production.

Transformer Units: Transformers (approximately 10.5m x 3.5m x 3.0m) are used to step up the voltage from the solar panels to a suitable export level and are placed strategically throughout the site.

Perimeter Fence: Wooden posts supporting traditional wire stock fencing (approximately 2m high) to match the local vernacular as required by the local authority. Infrared CCTV cameras may be required which would look along the fence line with no exterior lighting required anywhere on site.

Control Room: The control room (7.7m x 2.9m x 3.2m) allows the solar farm to be monitored remotely and contains protection equipment.


Site Access

A temporary construction compound is proposed in the south of the site, accessed from B4087, the area would be of a size sufficient to allow delivery vehicles to enter and exit in forward gear. Vehicle deliveries are to be by pre-arrangement, and vehicles routed via the south, using the A429 and A4087.

The majority of vehicular movements associated with the development would be during the construction and decommissioning periods. Safe and suitable access routes for construction vehicles have been identified within the Construction Traffic Management Plan submitted with the application. This considers the local highway network, the level of vehicle movements associated with the development, and arrangements for the construction period, anticipated to be a maximum of 16 weeks. Advanced notification will be provided for road users and residents ahead of the construction period.

Upon completion of construction there will be minimal traffic during the operational period with maintenance only requiring a site visit roughly once per month.

Specialist Environmental Surveys

A range of specialist consultants have undertaken surveys to aid in the design process and to ensure the site is appropriate for development.

Ecology: Specialist species surveys and biodiversity net gain assessments were undertaken. Significant gain in biodiversity by incorporation of new planting and valuable new habitats. Pre-construction and construction mitigation and management proposed to ensure there is no harm to species on site.

Cultural Heritage and Archaeology: Our specialists have carried out cultural heritage assessments, considering the potential for both buried archaeology on site and inter- relationships with nearby above ground heritage assets.

The village of Newbold Pacey is a conservation area and contains several listed buildings. Our heritage assessment completed by 3rd party consultants concluded that due to the buffer, strong screening between the site and the settlement, and the proposed additional planting  the project had low level impact on the conservation area.

Desk based assessment and geophysical surveys identified features of archaeological interest within the site’s development area. An historic multi-phase building was identified in the field nearest the Newbold Pacey. To minimise the development impact on these assets, solar panels were removed and a 10m buffer has been implemented

Landscape and Visuals: The site is visible from the B4087 and some nearby dwellings. The proposed additional planted has been designed in such a way to help screen views of the development

Arboriculture: The trees on site will have protection applied during construction. Root protection zones will be observed and specialist excavation techniques will be utilised around root zones.

Highways: Vehicle routes and site access points have been agreed with highway authorities and a construction traffic management plan was approved as part of the planning application.

Hydrology: Flood risk assessment and surface water management plan deemed the amount of impermeable surface added to the site is negligible. There is no increase in risk of flooding or surface run off from the development.

Agricultural Land Classification: An assessment of the Agricultural Land Classification assessment has been undertaken and shows 31% of the site is situated on BMV (best most versatile land) and the majority of the site being grade 3b. This piece of Elms farm is currently intensively growing cereal crops, the solar farm will allow the land to be taken out of production and allowed to rest.

There should be no long term affect to soil quality because of the solar farm construction. Current research indicates that across the lifetime of a solar farm soil quality can actually improve so when it returns to agricultural use it would be in better condition than before.

Green Energy and Climate Change

Carbon dioxide is a major contributor to global warming, causing climate change. The UK Government passed legislation requiring the government to reduce the UK’s net emissions of greenhouse gases by 100% relative to 1990 levels by 2050. Doing so would make the UK a ‘net-zero’ emitter. Stratford-on-Avon District Council declared a climate emergency and has committed to becoming carbon neutral by 2030.

Currently energy production emits large amounts of carbon dioxide each year. In order to meet national and local targets, clean energy developments like Elms Farm are a key part of addressing the Climate Emergency.

Elms Farm - Layout Plan