You will, I am sure, have heard a great deal about proposals for a “Botley West Solar Farm” which would, if approved, impact significantly upon Tackley, Wootton, Glympton, Bladon, Woodstock, Long Hanborough, Church Hanborough, Rousham, Eynsham and Cassington.
I have looked at the plans for Botley West in detail, as I have explained in detail elsewhere (please read my full statement here), I am opposed to these proposals.
As the latest part of our joint campaign against these proposals, I want to present a constituents’ petition to Parliament to show the strength of feeling on this issue. This is part of our campaign: it will not automatically stop the proposals, but it has a very strong role in showing how strongly we all feel about this, because the petition will be presented in the Chamber of the House of Commons when the House returns after the summer recess, will be recorded on Hansard and – most importantly - and will require the Government to respond. This matters, because it is the Government that will be deciding on this proposal, and so a clear demonstration of feeling at this stage is essential.
It is incredibly important if you have a view on the proposals for a Botley West Solar Farm, that you engage with this petition so that I am able to accurately reflect the scale of opinion to the Government, thereby ensuring they take this into consideration when the final decision is made by the Secretary of State.
I would urge you to sign this petition below and to share it far and wide so that we can send a clear message from West Oxfordshire’s residents.
The full text of the petition is as follows:
The petition of residents of Witney and West Oxfordshire
Declares that the large scale solar farm application known as “Botley West Solar Farm” is detrimental to the local community, notes that its scale and design are incompatible with the current infrastructure of the area; further declares that preservation of farmland for food security, local amenity, rural character and green belt preservation must take precedence when considering solar farm applications.
The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urge the Government to reject the application when it is presented and immediately update the National Planning Policy Framework to give clearer, stricter guidance on the appropriate location, scale and design of solar farms including the definition to be used when sites are declared to be “temporary", furthermore that this updated guidance give weight to factors such as the preservation of farmland for food security, local amenity, overall scale and impact upon the local community, rural character and green belt preservation.