A renewable energy company has announced it is revising its latest Lincolnshire solar project following an early (non-statutory) consultation.
Beacon Fen South, which was planned for land near to Helpringham and Burton Pedwardine near the town of Sleaford, has been removed from Beacon Fen Energy Park because the interaction with the proposed Anglian Water Lincolnshire reservoir could have meant delays to the overall delivery of the project.
Low Carbon, the renewable energy company behind the project, has said instead it will still be progressing with Beacon Fen North, which going forward will simply be referred to as Beacon Fen Energy Park. This site lies north of Heckington and would connect into Bicker Fen substation.
James Hartley-Bond, Director at Low Carbon, said: “Following the initial early (non-statutory) consultation and the community and stakeholder feedback received, we are withdrawing Beacon Fen South from our Development Consent Order application and will be progressing with solar and battery storage development at Beacon Fen North only.
“Renewable energy is urgently needed to fully decarbonise the UK’s electricity system by 2035 and we believe Beacon Fen Energy Park will contribute significantly to this need since it could be developed as soon as 2029. Proceeding with Beacon Fen South would have put this delivery at risk. We felt it is important to communicate this decision in a timely manner to provide clarity to communities in the vicinity of the proposed reservoir.”
Beacon Fen Energy Park was announced in March this year, with more than 200 people engaging with an early (non-statutory) consultation held in May and June.
A wide variety of feedback was received, including concerns over how the energy park could work with another proposed nationally significant infrastructure project – a reservoir proposed by Anglian Water on the same land identified for Beacon Fen South. Beacon Fen Energy Park could commence construction in 2026, but due to the scale and nature of the reservoir project, its DCO application will not be determined by then, which could have caused delays to Beacon Fen Energy Park as a whole.
Mr Hartley-Bond said that a newsletter will be circulated locally in August with further information about the revisions to the project. The timeline for the DCO application is expected to be similar but will also be described further in this newsletter.
He added: “We still expect to hold our more detailed statutory consultation in winter 2023/24 including our Preliminary Environmental Information Report. All dates and events will be advertised ahead of time. To stay up to date sign up to our mailing list at https://www.beaconfenenergypark.co.uk/contact/.”
The amount of electricity Beacon Fen Energy Park could generate exceeds 50MW and is therefore classified as a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP). This requires Beacon Fen Energy Park to submit an application for a Development Consent Order (DCO) to the Planning Inspectorate.
The development process for the project through to submission and then examination of the DCO application is expected to take until 2025. Subject to achieving development consent, construction would start in 2026.