Consultation begins on massive solar farm proposal near Metheringham, Scopwick and Ashby de la Launde which could power over 180,000 homes
This is the second stage of public consultation on the proposed solar farm with battery storage, which is located between Lincoln and Sleaford.
The proposals have been updated following feedback from the community and engagement with stakeholders, alongside ongoing technical work and the outputs of early environmental assessments.
The companies say changes include further design of offsets from homes and villages, with an overall reduction in the areas proposed for solar panels. Areas not proposed for development would be managed for mitigation, ecological enhancement or retained for agricultural use – and are now proposed to make
up over half of the site.
The updated proposals also include 8.6km of permissive footpaths and plans for a community benefit fund which would provide £400 per megawatt of installed capacity for communities to spend on local projects.
Consultation on early plans for Springwell Solar Farm will run for six weeks from today (Thursday January 11), closing on Thursday February 22.
Feedback at this stage will be used to refine proposals before a Development Consent Order (DCO) application is submitted to the government for consideration.Springwell Solar Farm is estimated to provide enough clean energy to power over 180,000 homes every year – the equivalent of around half the homes in Lincolnshire.
The Springwell Solar Farm project is designed with a fixed lifespan of around 40 years, after which the land could potentially revert to agricultural use.
The developers argue that the solar farm would significantly contribute to the UK's goal of achieving 70GW of installed solar capacity by 2035, aligning with the national objective to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050, relative to 1990 levels.
EDF Renewables UK’s Director of Storage, Solar and Private Wire Matthew Boulton said: “Community input has already helped to inform our plans for Springwell and will continue to play a very important part in helping us refine our proposals before we submit our DCO application.
“I encourage everyone to get in touch, meet with us and share their views during the consultation.”
As part of the consultation, members of the public are invited to a series of public exhibitions to meet with the team behind Springwell and share their feedback. The exhibitions will take place at the following dates and locations:
· Wednesday 24 January - Scopwick Village Hall (4pm - 8pm)
· Thursday 25 January – Ashby de la Launde Village Hall (3pm - 7pm)
· Friday 26 January – The Venue, Navenby (Midday - 4pm)
· Saturday 27 January – Metheringham Village Hall (11am - 3pm)
· Tuesday 20 February – Blankney Old School (3pm - 7pm)
Members of the public can also visit a dedicated website: www.springwellsolarfarm.co.uk to view and download the consultation materials and visit a virtual exhibition on the plans.
Copies of the consultation materials can also be viewed and picked up at:
· Sleaford Library, 13-16 Market Place, Sleaford NG34 7SR
· Navenby Community Library, The Venue, Navenby LN5 0JJ
All responses must be received by the consultation deadline of 11:59pm on Thursday February 22.
Locals from Ashby de la Laude and Scopwick have raised objections to the proposed construction of the Springwell Solar Farm on nearby agricultural land.
Some residents still view the project as too large and advocate for retaining the land's agricultural use.
Ashby de la Laude resident Fiona Hall, 55, expressed her objections to the proposed solar farm, particularly its potential to replace good quality agricultural land.
She said: "It's a shame to think that farmers are swapping to this because it's easier and cheaper than producing food.
"I'm not averse to new energies, I've got an electric car and solar panels, etc. I just think that we can't lose the countryside for other things."
Ms Hall also raised concerns about the potential glare from the solar panels, questioning its impact on drivers and the possibility of creating a driving hazard, especially given the project's proximity to the A15.
"I would like to be assured that it's not going to be blinding anybody as they're driving along," she added.
In Scopwick, resident James Dunne shared his worries about the solar farm potentially being an eyesore and disrupting the scenic view from his property.
"I'm not impressed because my bedroom window looks out over the field," he stated.
In anticipation of the upcoming January consultation, Mr Dunne added: "[The developers] should think about the fallout from the people living around here," highlighting that the project was virtually in the village itself.