Consultation launched on solar park plans for Heckington Fen.

A renewable energy company has today (Thursday) announced it will be consulting the public on its plans for a solar park and energy storage facility at Heckington Fen.

An indicative layout plan of the proposed solar park at Heckington fen.
An indicative layout plan of the proposed solar park at Heckington fen.

The proposal, situated north of the A17 between Sleaford and Boston, near East Heckington, could generate enough affordable green electricity to power over 100,000 homes and save an estimated 75,000 tonnes of harmful CO2 emissions every year – the equivalent of taking more than 30,000 cars off the road, says developer Ecotricity.

Laura White, Project Manager at the Heckington Fen scheme, said “At Ecotricity, we build projects that local people can be proud of. We’ve developed our site plans in consideration of the local community’s views, issues, concerns, and various conversations. We’re now consulting on these revised proposals to deliver the best possible project.”

The site was previously earmarked for a wind farm, but the company has struggled in fulfilling the conditions to allow it to be constructed – namely a mitigation scheme to prevent the rotor blades disrupting MOD radar.

This is likely to be the final phase of consultation, ahead of the submission of a Development Consent Order (DCO) application for the project. The consultation will run for nine weeks.

Key elements of the project on which feedback is requested include:

- The cable route option to connect the park to the Bicker Fen Substation

- Access routes to the proposed connection point

- Proposed biodiversity enhancements

- Opportunities for recreation and community leisure

Laura added: “The proposed solar park at Heckington Fen is an exciting opportunity to fight the climate emergency. In addition to helping meet net zero targets, we’re also committed to providing local benefits. Our proposals include a new permissive path over four kilometres, a community orchard for use by local groups by arrangement, and additional wildlife habitat.”

Statutory consultation runs from June 30 to September 1, 2022. Ecotricity are holding a series of consultation events and webinars, details of which can be found on their website here.

When consultation ends, Ecotricity will consider all feedback and submit for a DCO to the Planning Inspectorate in early 2023. A decision could be made by mid-2024. Construction could take around 18 months, with the site operational in 2027.

If you have any questions, or would like to speak to a member of the project team, email [email protected], or call Freephone 0800 151 0784.

Ecotricity consultation events:

• Thursday 7 July 2022 – 1-8pm at Heckington Village Hall, 9-11 High St, Heckington, Sleaford NG34 9RA

• Friday 8 July 2022 – 12.30-8.30pm at Bicker Village Hall, Cemetery Road, Bicker, Lincolnshire PE20 3BT

• Saturday 30 July – Sunday 31 July at Heckington Show

The following events will be online in the form of a presentation followed by questions and answers.

• Tuesday 5 July 2022 – 12-1.30pm

• Saturday 23 July 2022 – 11am-12.30pm

• Wednesday 3 August 2022 – 7-8.30pm

Copies of the consultation documents, including a project overview document and feedback form, will be available for viewing at the following locations:

North Kesteven District Council, Kesteven Street, Sleaford.

Lincolnshire County Council, County Offices, Newland, Lincoln.

Boston Borough Council, Municipal Buildings, West Street, Boston.

Heckington Community Hub, Council Chambers, St Andrew’s Street, Heckington, Sleaford.

Boston Library, County Hall, Boston.

Sleaford Library, 13 - 16 Market Place, Sleaford.