The possibility of building a solar farm is being investigating next to the village of Denchworth in Southern Oxfordshire. 


What is being built?

Renewable Connections is a company which installs and develops renewable energy sources throughout the UK. The Manor Solar Farm, as it will be called, is predicted to be up to 30MW in size, and will supply enough power for up to 11,132 homes during the first year of generation, contributing towards tackling the climate emergency in Oxfordshire. It will be installed on what is approximately 120 acres of agricultural land between the villages of Denchworth, West Hanney, and Charney Basset in Southern Oxfordshire. The farm will be operational for the next 40 years, after which the land will be restored to its previous state. 

The area that will be most affected is the small village of Denchworth, which has 84 registered dwellings and houses about 170 people.


Why is it needed?

In 2019, the UK government declared a national ‘Environment and Climate Emergency’. The Committee on Climate Change has advised that in order to meet Net Zero targets, the UK requires up to four times more low carbon power sources to be built before 2050. The Vale of White Horse District Council has also declared their own climate emergency and acknowledged that urgent action is needed to limit the environmental impacts of climate change. 


What are the benefits to the proposal?

Solar wind farms convert energy generated from sunlight into electricity which can be used to power homes. They produce a source of reliable, renewable energy and have the additional benefit of allowing the surrounding land to grow naturally, allowing for higher levels of biodiversity, creating a range of habitats, and offering food and shelter to wildlife. The Renewable Connections website states that, once the solar farm is operational, the land can be used to graze sheep, whereas before it has been primarily used for growing crops. The Manor Solar Farm project will also involve hedgegrow and wildflower planting and will save 6,027 tonnes of CO2 annually, according to the Renewable Connections Website.


What are the drawbacks of the proposal?

During the construction of the site, which will take approximately six months, there may be construction traffic caused by those delivering equipment and making maintenance visits on the local roads. However, measures have been promised to be put in place to manage such traffic.

In addition to this, locals are concerned about increase in flooding to Brook Lane, the road between Denchworth and Grove, which has already experienced significant flooding during the last few months due to high levels of rainfall. The Denchworth Parish have submitted an official Community Objection which draws upon the points above as well as raising concerns of the impact the Solar Farm will have on the ‘considerable archeological interest’ of Denchworth, with several historical artefacts having been discovered in the village from the prehistoric and post-medieval periods. Finally, there are objections regarding the risk to the security, with police data showing a 48% rise in solar panel and cabling theft between 2021 and 2022. The Solar Farm may also impact the inhabitants of Denchworth’s ability to walk on the track between the village and that of West Hanney. In an isolated village, with no street lights and few safe walking routes, it is tracks like these that give villagers the ability to go on local walks without having to travel in a car, without causing vehicle pollution- something that is important in the effort to slow climate change.

One villager said: “Currently my biggest concern is for the house prices in the area. The aesthetic and environmental impact of the solar farm will result in the decline in our home’s value”.



To conclude, whilst the Manor Solar Farm would have many positive impacts, and is part of the crucial push to slow climate change, it is also wise to consider both sides to the proposal, due to the legitimate concerns that makes the general attitude of the villagers of Denchworth largely wary of the idea.