Increasing biodiversity at all stages of a solar farm’s lifecycle
There is now universal consensus among global climate scientists and governments that the climate is changing due to rising greenhouse gas emissions. The impacts of climate change are already being felt around the world; here in the UK extreme weather events such as storms, droughts and flooding are becoming much more frequent and severe. Generating energy from fossil fuels is the largest contributor of global carbon emissions, and the world is working together to limit the increase in temperatures to 1.5°C.
This best practice guidance has been produced to raise awareness and promote the design, construction and operation of high-quality solar farm projects which support ecology and deliver additional benefits arising from multiple land use. It provides detailed guidance on how to deliver a solar farm from site design through to decommissioning with an emphasis on promoting environments which provide natural capital, biodiversity, and in some cases agriculture, alongside green energy supply.
Most Local Planning Authorities (LPAs) will by now have some experience with the consenting process for renewable energy technologies, however many may be unaware of the specific opportunities for solar farms to improve biodiversity and increase ecosystem services. Solar farms can be a critical tool for LPAs to achieve both their climate and ecological objectives.
Solar farm developers should also find this guide useful in the development, construction, and operation of sites. It has been designed to clearly set out the benefits of implementing biodiversity enhancement strategies alongside maximising the output of solar installations. This has progressed considerably in the past few years, presenting exciting new financial opportunities as well.
SEUK will aim to correct any errors or omissions within the report.