Renewable Connections has received consent for a 49.9MW solar energy farm in Bicker Fen, Lincolnshire. Once operational, the project would supply enough power for 14,000 homes, and make a valuable contribution towards tackling the climate emergency in Lincolnshire.
As we work with our delivery partner, European Energy, through the pre-construction phases, we welcome any feedback from the local community to ensure the project is realised for the benefit of Bicker Fen.
We welcome any feedback you wish to provide so please do get in touch.
22,500 tonnes of CO2 saved annually
50,000 megawatt hours supplied each year
Equivalent annual energy needs of 14,000 homes
80 hectares of land enhanced for native wildlife
The proposed location of Vicarage Drove Solar Farm is on farmland at Bicker Fen, approximately 2.5km north of Donington, Lincolnshire. The site is 80ha.
The surrounding area is largely flat and agricultural in character, with scattered properties and farmsteads. Three existing or proposed electricity substations and an existing onshore wind farm surround the site.
There are no houses within 500m of the proposed development. Views from the west are largely screened by the South Forty Foot Drain and the majority of views from the east and south will be screened by existing infrastructure or proposed planting.
The solar farm will be temporary and comprise of panels and associated equipment. In addition, a range of wildlife proposals will be introduced to greatly enhance the biodiversity of this area, creating news habitats and offering food and shelter to wildlife.
Our plans are still in the development stages, so our proposals will evolve as we gather local input and the results of our environmental assessments.
If installed the solar farm will have a capacity of up to 49.9MWp and will be operational for up to 35 years. After the time, all of the installation will be removed and the land restored to how it was before, but with improved soil health and biodiversity. The power generated will be exported to the grid via a substation connecting to existing powerlines which run through the site boundary. No new pylons will be necessary to facilitate the connection.
The solar panels will be installed in rows which run north to south through the site. These rows will track the sun through the day to capture the maximum amount of solar irradiation possible. The total height of the panels will be no more than 2.75m above the ground with a gap of more than 0.8m above the ground at its minimum.
Small electric cabins will be located amongst the panels and these will be accessed by a network of crushed stone track which will run through the site. All of the panels will be surrounded by a deer fencing to protect the equipment from large animals entering the site. CCTV cameras will be located periodically around the site perimeter for security.
The development will also involve additional landscaping including hedgerow planting and improved biodiversity management. The site is currently pasture and arable land with low ecological value, however with the implementation of a Green Infrastructure Plan the site will be significantly enhanced for biodiversity by creating a range of new habitats, offering food and shelter to wildlife.
Following the Government’s declaration of an “Environment and Climate Emergency” in May 2019, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) advised that to meet ‘Net Zero’ targets, the UK will require substantial amounts of new, low carbon power sources to be built before 2050, up to four times that of today’s levels.
Boston Borough Council declared their own climate emergency in February 2020 acknowledging that urgent action is required to limit the environmental impacts produced by the climate crisis.
Solar is one of the cleanest, lowest cost forms of energy available. Vicarage Drove Solar Farm would make a meaningful contribution to Lincolnshire’s energy needs by delivering green energy to over 14,000 homes annually. Over the lifetime of the project, it would save an estimated 700,000 tonnes of CO2 from being emitted. This is around the same reduction in carbon emissions as taking over 150,000 cars off UK roads.
This site has been identified following extensive site selection across Lincolnshire which took into account environmental designations, local electricity network access and capacity, the physical characteristics of the site, and a supportive landowner.
For a period of approximately 6 months during construction, there will be deliveries of equipment to site. Renewable Connections will put in place measures to manage impacts of construction traffic and these measures will be included in a Construction Traffic Management Plan that will submitted with the planning application. There will be infrequent maintenance visits to the site during operation.
Solar farms are temporary and the land will be fully reinstated to farmland once the equipment is removed at the end of the project life.
No – solar is a passive technology which doesn’t produce any harmful by-products.
The development proposes a life span of up to 40 years. No later than this, the development would be decommissioned, and the site returned to solely agricultural use. A decommissioning plan will be provided with the planning submission.
No – solar farms are not noisy, producing no more than normal background levels of sound similar to wind or distant traffic beyond the site boundary.
Renewable Connections is committed to maximising benefits for the Bicker Fen Community. The project will support local businesses, provide enhanced business rates, and provide enhancements to wildlife. We will also establish a Community Benefit Fund to share the profits from the electricity sales to support local causes.
Vicarage Drove Solar,
3rd Floor, 141-145 Curtain Road,