Consultation opens on massive solar farm plans that would power half of Lincolnshire

Public consultation has begun on a new solar farm in North Kesteven which could power over 180,000 homes in the county.

Enough solar panels to power 180,000 homes are proposed for land between Sleaford and Lincoln.
Enough solar panels to power 180,000 homes are proposed for land between Sleaford and Lincoln.

Consultation has begun on plans for Springwell Solar Farm, a proposed new solar farm with battery storage located between Lincoln and Sleaford.

Developers, EDF Renewables say the facility would make a significant contribution to the UK’s future energy mix by providing enough clean, secure energy to power the equivalent of around half the homes in Lincolnshire each year.

The site proposed is mainly on land owned by Blankney Estates between the villages of Metheringham, Scopwick and Ashby de la Launde, adding up to around 1,700 hectares, but a company spokesman has said they do not expect to use all of this land for generating and storing energy.

“We will be looking at opportunities for boosting biodiversity as well as improving existing habitats, led by the feedback we receive and the surveys we carry out. Some of the land will be used for burying cables to connect different parts of Springwell together.”

There are already some concerns in the county about the amount of solar farms taking up valuable agricultural land.

However, EDF says parts of the Springwell site would also be used for recreational, landscape and ecological enhancements. The early design of Springwell, which has been published as part of this consultation, includes suggestions for new habitats, planting and improvements to the existing footpath network.

The consultation will run for six weeks, closing on Tuesday March 7. Feedback from local communities will help shape early plans for Springwell and identify potential benefits that it could support in the local area.

Springwell is classified as a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP) because of its generating capacity (over 50MW). NSIPs require planning permission to be granted by the relevant Secretary of State through a Development Consent Order (DCO).

As part of the consultation, members of the public are invited to a series of public exhibitions to meet with the team and share their feedback.

EDF Renewables UK’s Head of Solar, Ben Fawcett said, “We are currently at a very early stage with our plans for Springwell, with the feedback we receive during this consultation helping to inform our plans while they are still being developed.

“We encourage everyone to get in touch, meet with us and share their views during the consultation.”

Jolyon Orchard, CEO of Luminous Energy, a solar energy developer working with EDF, said: "Our company was established to make a meaningful contribution towards mitigating climate change and we now have numerous

renewable energy projects in development, under construction or operating across four continents. When we initiated this project, we recognised it provided a real opportunity to help the UK transition to net-zero.

“We are looking forward to working with EDF Renewables UK and the local community to create a scheme that delivers affordable, clean energy.”

The exhibitions will take place at the following dates and locations:

- Tuesday January 31 – Blankney Old School House (2pm –7pm)

- Wednesday February 1 – Scopwick Village Hall (2pm – 7pm)

- Friday February 3 – Ashby de la Launde Village Hall (11am – 4pm)

- Saturday February 4 – Metheringham Village Hall (11am – 4pm)

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 picked up at the following locations:

- Blankney Golf Club, Lincoln Road, Blankney LN4 3AZ

- Scopwick Village Hall, Brookside, LN4 3PA

- Metheringham Community Library, High Street, LN4 3DZ

All responses must be received by the consultation deadline of 11:59pm on Tuesday March 7, 2023.

For further information, contact: [email protected] or 0800 038 3486.