Aura Power secures planning permission for Essex solar farm following appeal

We have successfully secured planning permission to develop a solar farm near Rayleigh, Essex following a hearing in February 2024.

May 2, 2024

Once constructed, Rayleigh Solar Farm will have an export capacity of 30 MW. The scheme was previously refused by Rochford District Council’s Development Committee in June 2023, despite having a recommendation for approval from Planning Officers. The application was refused on the basis that the harm to the Green Belt would not be outweighed by the public benefits of the scheme.


Less than a week after refusing the application for Rayleigh Solar Farm, Rochford District Council declared a Climate and Ecological Emergency and committed to achieving net zero by 2030 for its own estate and2040 for the Rochford District area. Rochford District Council’s Climate Action Plan stated that they were aiming for 100 MW of renewable energy in their own district by 2030. Along with existing operational development, Rayleigh SolarFarm will help the authority achieve 50% of this target.

In the overall planning balance, the Inspector gave substantial weight to both  the contribution the proposal would make to cutting greenhouse gas emissions and to improving energy resilience and security, and further significant weight to biodiversity enhancements. TheInspector concluded that the public benefits of the proposal were of a magnitude that they would clearly outweigh the combined weight of the harm to the Green Belt and to the setting of heritage assets. Therefore, the very special circumstances needed to justify the development in the Green Belt existed and the appeal was allowed.


George Wilyman, Head of Planning at Aura Power said “We are delighted with the Inspectors decision to grant planning permission. As recognised within the decision, this development  will provide significant benefits to the local area, whilst also contributing towards national targets for renewable energy generation. In addition to the generation of clean energy, the development also includes extensive tree planting and hedgerow improvements and habitat creation providing a substantial biodiversity net gain of at least 141%. Whilst not a material planning consideration, we are also offering a community benefit fund of £12,000 a year. We would like to thank all of our partners who worked with us to evolve and bring forward this project.”


Aura Power was supported by independent advisors Turley on the appeal submission. Turley provided expert Planning services for the project.  Andrew Ross, Director at Turley said “We welcome the decision to approve this development which will make a valuable contribution to increasing domestic energy supply from renewable sources. Turley is pleased to have helped secure a positive decision for Aura Power on a project that will support net zero targets in the area.”


Aura Power also recently secured £10 million funding from Novuna Business Finance to progress their global development pipeline of over 12 GW.

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