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BSR Energy launches challenge against Rush Wall Solar Park planning decision

BSR Energy has challenged the decision by the Welsh Minister not to grant planning consent to the
Rush Wall Solar Park.

The Minister’s decision was announced in June 2023, despite the project having been recommended
for approval in the Inspector’s Report.

Sited on land near the village of Redwick, near Newport, South Wales, the 75MW (megawatt) Rush
Wall Solar Park would produce enough clean renewable electricity to power 18,755 homes per year,
providing an annual saving of 16,611 tonnes of CO 2 emissions. Both the Inspector and the Minister
acknowledged that, if brought forward, the approximately 85 hectare scheme would enhance the
site’s biodiversity, with 75% net gain delivered through the careful management of the land.

A spokesperson for BSR Energy said: “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.

“Our site selection process was robust and followed planning policy. We looked at a wide range of
factors in selecting a site, such as the location of electrical connections, environmental and planning
designations, existing land use, agricultural land classification, visual impact, topography, and
cumulative impacts.

“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.

“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 Energy submitted its application for planning consent to Planning and Environment Decisions
Wales in March 2022. The application was for the development of ancillary electrical equipment and
infrastructure, access tracks, security fencing and CCTV. The operational lifespan of the project
would be 35 years.

Biodiversity net gain (BNG) is a key priority for BSR Energy on all its sites. The UK government is set
to introduce a minimum target of 10% BNG for large developments such as solar parks from
November 2023, but BSR Energy already goes a step beyond this to target a minimum 60% gain on
its developments.