BSR Energy, a development company, has initiated legal action against the Welsh Minister following the denial of planning consent for a 75MW solar farm. The solar farm, named Rush Wall Solar Park, had been proposed near Newport, South Wales. In June 2023, the Welsh First Minister, Mark Drakeford, rejected the planning consent, even though the Inspector’s report had recommended its approval. The proposed location for the solar farm was the Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) in Redwick, as confirmed by the Gwent Wildlife Trust. Concerns were raised about the potential ecological impact of such a large farm, spanning approximately 85 hectares. However, it is essential to note that the project aimed to improve the site’s biodiversity and achieve a 75% net gain through careful land management.
BSR Energy, a subsidiary of British Solar Renewables (BSR), acknowledged the significance of the SSSI designation and emphasized the efforts taken to address environmental concerns. They stated, “The Rush Wall site is part of an SSSI designation, and a full environmental statement was produced highlighting a range of natural protections and betterments the development will secure. Detailed assessments were undertaken by our environmental consultants, which led to a scheme design that is sensitive towards and compatible with the local landscape and environment. This includes the opportunity for ecological enhancements, including management of the reen and ditches.”
BSR also highlighted the project’s potential benefits for Wales’ decarbonization efforts, especially the ability to connect to the UK’s national electricity grid. According to a BSR spokesperson, “The project’s ability to connect to the UK’s national electricity grid is the most significant benefit of the site. An energy generation project of this scale is not achievable in most other locations within the regional area or even at the national level. Although we were disappointed by the Welsh Minister’s decision on the proposed Rush Wall Solar Park, we were encouraged by the Inspector’s Report, which highlighted the significant benefits the scheme would deliver.”