Longfield Solar Farm

Impact:

RSK Wilding is helping all the project partners for Longfield solar farm to make this an exemplar project and raise the bar for subsequent solar developments, with biodiversity being at the heart of the project – not an afterthought bolted on. Due to the favourable reception by the client of our biodiversity design, we have secured a role as Biodiversity Design Partner for EDF’s solar framework.

Project background:

At 380 ha and up to 500 MW generation capacity, the proposed Longfield Solar Farm will be the largest operational solar park in the UK.

This Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP) will involve a new solar photovoltaic array generating station, co-located with battery storage and connection with the National Grid infrastructure. Including battery storage in the proposals allows the project to make more efficient use of the solar panels. The site is located on land north east of Chelmsford.

Scope of services:

The scale of this site means there is a significant opportunity to make long-lasting contributions to biodiversity and natural capital at a landscape scale, and our client, EDF, wishes to make it an exemplar project for the industry.

To support Longfield Solar Farm, RSK Wilding is currently:

  • Providing technical advice to the project team on the biodiversity opportunities, as well as developing a detailed plan for the site management that will achieve a significant Biodiversity Net Gain. Our plans
    combine species-rich grassland, regenerative farming and conservation grazing within the solar array.
  • Demonstrating elsewhere within the site how floodplain meadow restoration, nutrient neutrality, woodland management and rewilding can all be included within the project design to enhance every corner of the site; a major benefit of our exemplar is the potential for the species-rich grassland to sequester up to 1150 tCO2e/ year.
  • Developing a trial area with academic partners to test optimal biodiversity management for solar farms, with the aim of informing the current UK solar farm guidance.

The Development Consent Order (DCO) was submitted to the Planning Inspectorate in early 2022 and the examination process should be complete by January 2023.