Plans for huge solar farm between Lincoln and Sleaford submitted to council

Plans for a huge solar farm between Lincoln and Sleaford have now been submitted to North Kesteven District Council following consultation from local communities.
The layout of where the solar farm is proposed to be installed between Metheringham and Ashby de la Launde.The layout of where the solar farm is proposed to be installed between Metheringham and Ashby de la Launde.
The layout of where the solar farm is proposed to be installed between Metheringham and Ashby de la Launde.

The proposed farm, named Springwell, would have the capacity to power around 180,000 homes across areas of agricultural land near Blankney, Scopwick and Ashby de la Launde every year.

Backed by EDF Renewables UK and Luminous Energy, the project would reportedly for the main landowner, Blankney Estates, “play an important role in safeguarding the future operations while supporting the ethos of long term sustainability”.

As well as delivering clean energy, parts of the proposed site would also be used for recreational, landscape and ecological enhancements.

The early design includes suggestions for new habitats, planting and improvements to the existing footpath network.

A consultation was conducted earlier this year in a bid to get feedback from local communities that could help shape the early ideas and identify potential benefits that it could support in the local area. A public meeting inviting views has been called in Metheringham Village Hall on Friday March 17 at 7pm at 7pm for Metheringham, Sots Hole and Tanvats residents, to understand their opinions.

Since closing on Tuesday, March 7, initial plans have appeared on North Kesteven District Council’s planning portal so they can also voice their opinion on the matter.

A second consultation is planned for later this year before a proposal is sent to the Planning Inspectorate, who will have the final say on whether the initiative goes ahead, due to the size of the scheme.

A spokesperson from Springwell said: “We consulted on our early proposals for Springwell Solar Farm between January 24 and March 7 to introduce our plans and gain early feedback.

“We’re grateful to everyone who took the time to read about our proposals, meet with us and share their feedback.

“We are now reviewing all of the feedback that we have received, which we will use to develop our plans for Springwell ahead of the next stage of consultation.”

They added: “Springwell Solar Farm is classed as a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP) because of the amount of electricity it would generate (over 50MW).

“This means we need to apply for a special type of planning consent called a Development Consent Order (DCO) to build and operate it, which is granted by Secretary of State.

“We anticipate submitting our application to the Planning Inspectorate, who will examine the application, in the first half of next year.

“While Springwell will not be determined by local councils, they play a very important role in this process, and we will be consulting them at every stage.”

A separate 50MW solar farm near Horncastle went before East Lindsey District Council last week.

The council ultimately gave permission for the Hatton Solar Farm to go-ahead, but it will have to go to the Secretary of State for final approval.

However, during the meeting on Thursday, senior councillors reiterated their concerns over solar farms.

Councillor Colin Davie, Lincolnshire County Council’s portfolio holder for economy and environment, said: “It’s now important that the government decides whether good quality agricultural land should be given over to energy projects, or to be used for its primary purpose that we strongly support which is the growing high-quality food not just for Lincolnshire but for the nation.”