Solar farm plans updated to include series of ‘wildlife friendly’ features


- Credit: Archant

Updated plans for a 200-acre solar farm between Burwell and Wicken have gone on display to the public.

Lightsource Renewable Energy hopes to install 170,000 solar panels at Goosehall Farm, which could produce enough energy annually to power 12,700 homes, equivalent, the company says, to taking almost 5,000 cars off the road every year.

Plans first went on display last August but the company was back Mandeville Hall, in Burwell, on Friday with a fresh set of plans, drawing on suggestions made at the first exhibition.

The company has revised the layout of the panels to reduce views of the facility from public footpaths, a new access route for construction vehicles has been proposed, and a raft of new wildlife friendly measures are to be installed.

The company has pledged to install bat and barn owl boxes, wild grass and hedgerows will be planted and there will be wild flower and bird areas.

A spokesman for Lightsource said: “Since we last presented our plans, we have amended the footprint of the solar farm - the site area now excludes fields to the west and includes additional fields to the east.

“The change moves the solar farm further away from the footpath and will reduce any views from the open section of Factory Road/Little Fen Drove, on the approach from the west.

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“Many residents were interested in the ways in which the solar farm’s landscaping could benefit local wildlife. Since we last presented our plans, we have used the results of ecological surveys and the advice of the local National Trust branch to further refine our plans for managing the land around the solar farm.

“These plans will be fine-tuned as we prepare the final planting plan and biodiversity management plan to be submitted with the planning application.”

The company added that it will now collect the feedback from its latest exhibition before preparing to submit a formal planning application to East Cambridgeshire District Council.