Introducing the Project
Welcome to Beacon Fen Energy Park. Low Carbon is developing proposals to build a new solar and battery storage park on land to the east of Sleaford, Lincolnshire. The site is to the north of Heckington and would connect into Bicker Fen substation.
Following the initial early (non-statutory) consultation on the project (see below for more information), the proposals have been updated to reflect the removal of the parcel of land known as Beacon Fen South. The remaining part of the site, previously known as Beacon Fen North remains.
If given the go ahead, Beacon Fen Energy Park has the potential to power approximately 130,000 homes and avoid up to 72,000 tonnes of CO₂ emissions annually.
The plans include building the infrastructure needed to export the electricity the energy park would generate into the national grid. This would be via the nearby Bicker Fen substation.
With the UK Government’s target to reach Net Zero by 2050, its aim is to increase the nation’s solar capacity fivefold by 2035. Beacon Fen Energy Park would deliver a vital contribution towards this ambitious target.
The amount of electricity Beacon Fen Energy Park could generate will exceed 50MW and is therefore classified as a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP).
This requires us to submit an application for a Development Consent Order (DCO) to the Planning Inspectorate which, in the case of energy-related development, acts on behalf of the Secretary of State at the Department for Energy, Security and Net Zero. The decision on whether to grant final consent for Beacon Fen Energy Park would be made by the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero.
Subject to achieving consent, construction is estimated to start in 2026.
Ongoing survey work
To develop our proposals for Beacon Fen Energy Park we are carrying out a variety of environmental and engineering surveys to identify the most appropriate areas of the site for development. Similarly, work is underway to determine the most appropriate route to connect Beacon Fen Energy Park to Bicker Fen substation, following the introduction of a new cable route search area after the withdrawal of Beacon Fen South from the project.
To ensure we are engaging with the relevant individuals as our project evolves, we have appointed Ardent Management to act on our behalf and speak with landowners to confirm their interests in the land and details of any occupiers.
September 2023 Update – You may notice higher levels of activity on the site over the coming weeks. This is due to the archaeological investigations currently being undertaken in the form of trial trenching. This work involves the use of excavators to dig a number of trenches across the site in order to understand the potential for archaeological remains.
The location of the trenches has been informed by the Historic Environment Record and previous work includes a geophysical survey, a review of aerial photography and LiDAR data. This process has been agreed with local authority archaeologists. Measures have been taken to ensure the protection of ecology on site during these works.
The work is being closely supervised by experienced field archaeologists who will examine and record any archaeology that is found. Local authority archaeologists will also be visiting the site to review the work being undertaken.
Where we are now
We submitted our Environmental Impact Assessment scoping request to the Planning Inspectorate (PINS) on 26 May 2023. You can view the subsequent Scoping Opinion here.
Our early (non-statutory) consultation started on 15 May 2023 and closed on 18 June 2023, involving in person events and online webinars to allow us to meet local residents, occupiers, businesses and landowners and introduce our early proposals. You can find out more information on our consultation page and view our recorded webinars too.
Following the initial early (non-statutory) consultation and the community and stakeholder feedback received, we withdrew a previously proposed second parcel of land – Beacon Fen South – from our Development Consent Order (DCO) application in July 2023. We will be progressing with solar and battery storage development at Beacon Fen North – now to be called Beacon Fen Energy Park.
In November 2023, we published the Statement of Community Consultation (SoCC) outlining how Low Carbon intends to consult with local communities about the proposed project during its upcoming statutory consultation, the proposed timescales for consultation and how consultees can respond to, and shape, the proposed development. Please click here to view the document. For further information about the SoCC, please visit our news article here.
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