April 25, 2023 10.00 pm This story is over 14 months old

500MW Heckington Fen Solar Park one step closer to becoming reality

Powering over 100,000 homes

By Local Democracy Reporter

The proposed Heckington Fen Solar Park could become a reality as it has been accepted for examination by the government’s Planning Inspectorate.

Based on the outskirts of Sleaford, the 500MW project includes solar panels, energy storage and a grid connection to Bicker Fen National Grid Substation.

It’s the latest major solar farm application in Lincolnshire.

Supporters say they would fight against climate change, with this project powering the equivalent of 100,000 homes with green electricity and preventing around 75,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions every year.

However, many have criticised the use of farmland and countryside.

The Heckington solar panels would be in place for approximately 30 to 40 years before being decommissioned.

Developers Ecotricity say they received an overall positive response to their plans following public consultation in August 2022 but chose to make some adjustments.

These included relocating the substation and energy storage further away from nearby properties, ruling out overhead lines across the site and incorporating water tanks and associated infrastructure into the designs.

A scoping opinion request has now been submitted to the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Kemi Badenoch MP.

Indicative site layout plans | Image: Planning Inspectorate

Founder of Ecotricity Dale Vince previously said: “The proposed solar park at Heckington Fen is an exciting opportunity to fight the climate emergency – it’s relatively quick to install solar power and quick to decommission in the future.

“By combining with energy storage onsite, we can save the energy we generate and use it when the grid really needs additional power.”

They are hoping to see a recommendation issued to the Secretary of State by the Examining Authority by Spring 2024.

The number of solar farm proposals for Lincolnshire has prompted considerable concern over the past few months with a further eight major developments also planned across Gainsborough, Boston, Horncastle and on the Rutland-Stamford border.

Some senior councillors believe these farms detract from valuable agricultural land, something which could be even more important during the ongoing cost of living crisis.

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