Stroud District Council has granted planning consent for a brand-new solar energy park to be built near Berkeley.
World's End Solar Park is a 49.99MW new development from leading renewable energy specialist British Solar Renewables (BSR Energy), to be built on an approximately 160-acre site currently used for arable farming around two-and-a-half miles south of the village.
The park aims to make a positive contribution towards the district's net zero aims by installing ground-mounted photovoltaic panels with the capacity to provide renewable energy to at least 12,501 homes, offsetting approximately 11,702 tonnes of carbon dioxide each year.
Its business rate contribution is expected to exceed £12,000 during its first year of operation — and the park is set to make a significant impact on biodiversity, too, creating new habitats and hedgerows for local wildlife with net gains of over 68 per cent, compared to the Environment Act's target of 10 per cent.
The decision comes after a positive public consultation in July 2021, followed by a formal planning application in May 2022 with permission granted in July 2023, despite concerns from some local councillors.
During that time, BSR Energy carried out ecological and landscaping works at the site to amend the layout, avoid possible archaeological remains and incorporate flood mitigation measures.
BSR Energy CEO, Tim Humpage, said: 'We are delighted that Stroud District Council has recognised that World’s End Solar Park will make a substantial contribution towards meeting their target of becoming carbon neutral by 2030.
'Well-considered projects like World’s End Solar Park, and those that will follow it, are critical to ensuring energy security and achieving the UK’s commitment to a net zero future.'
Dale Greetham, associate director at ADAS Planning, BSR Energy's planning consultant, added: 'This exciting planning approval is a testament to the team's hard work and corroborates our client focused approach in ensuring that British Solar Renewables were provided with the best strategy advice to secure the most efficient and effective planning permission.
'Numerous environmental matters were raised by statutory consultees during the determination period, and these were considered, and all necessary amendments and mitigations were incorporated as the proposals progressed.
'Colleagues across ADAS and the wider RSK Group have worked hard to develop a scheme which meets all necessary criteria and responds to the feedback received throughout consultation.'