Communities have been invited to give vital feedback on refined proposals for a new renewable energy park, which could power 130,000 homes with clean electricity.
The proposed Beacon Fen Energy Park site is east of Ewerby and 4km east of Sleaford, and will be made up of solar PV, co-located with energy storage.
The statutory consultation period will run for six weeks from Monday 22nd January to Sunday 3rd March and include a series of in-person events and webinars for stakeholders and communities to attend to find out more information.
Renewable energy company Low Carbon, which is behind the proposals, has confirmed that, if given permission, Beacon Fen Energy Park would generate an estimated 400MW of electricity, providing electricity to up to 130,000 homes while also avoiding up to 72,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions, annually. The proposals include a battery energy storage system (BESS) with a capacity of approximately 600 MW.
Network infrastructure will also need to be built as part of the project which will link to the Bicker Fen substation. An underground cable route to connect the energy park to the substation is proposed for land east of Heckington, while a new, bespoke access road is being proposed to reduce the impact on local roads.
James Hartley-Bond, Director at Low Carbon, said: “Speaking directly with local communities and stakeholders has been a core part of our approach throughout the development of Beacon Fen Energy Park and we are looking forward to presenting more detailed and up-to-date plans at our statutory consultation. During our early (non-statutory) consultation last May and June, local people gave helpful information around traffic and local wildlife. We look forward to hearing from them again first hand.”
As part of the statutory consultation, in-person events will be held at;
- Bicker Village Hall, Cemetery Road, Bicker – Friday, January 26th from 1.30pm to 7.30pm
- Ewerby Reading Rooms, Main Street, Ewerby – Saturday, January 27th from 10am to 4pm
- South Kyme Coronation Hall, High Street, South Kyme – Wednesday, February 21st from 10am to 4pm
- Heckington Village Hall, 9-11 High Street, Heckington – Thursday, February 22nd from 2pm to 8pm
Two online webinars have also been organised for;
- Monday, January 29th from 6.30pm – 8pm
- Thursday, February 29th from 6.30pm – 8pm
Those wishing to attend a webinar can email email@example.com from Monday, January 22nd. No registration is required to attend the in-person events.
As part of the consultation, communities and stakeholders will be able to read and have their say on the project’s Preliminary Environmental Impact Report (PEIR). Hard copies will be available at all in-person events, while a digital version of all materials provided at the events will be available to download at www.beaconfenenergypark.co.uk/documents.
Feedback should be provided in writing via feedback forms which will be available at all in-person events and can be handed in to members of the project team on the day or posted via FREEPOST BEACON FEN ENERGY PARK to arrive before Sunday, March 3rd. An online feedback form will also be available at www.beaconfenenergypark.co.uk.
Mr Hartley-Bond added: “We have said from the beginning, if given permission, Beacon Fen Energy Park will be a huge step forward towards reaching the UK Government’s plans to increase the nation’s solar capacity fivefold by 2035.
“We invite all members of the local community to take part in our statutory consultation, where our team will be on hand to share our refined plans and what has changed since our early (non-statutory) consultation. We look forward to giving them the latest updates on the project and answering questions. It is important that any feedback is provided in writing no later than Sunday 3rd March.”
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 planning process for the project is expected to take around two years. Subject to achieving consent, construction would start no earlier than 2026.