National Solar Centre’s biodiversity guidance promotes both ‘clean energy and nature conservation’

BRE National Solar Centre has launched new guidance today designed to optimise the biodiversity potential of solar farms in the UK.

The National Solar Centre partnered with an extensive list of conservation bodies to promote and inform the new guidance, which was authored by ecologist Dr Guy Parker.

Those involved in the guidance include, the National Trust, RSPB, Plantlife, Bumblebee Conservation Trust, Eden Project, Buglife, Wychwood Biodiversity and Wiltshire Wildlife Trust.

The National Solar Centre hopes that planners, ecologists, developers, clients and landowners will all use the new guidance to help explore the large number of biodiversity options that are available for solar farms.

Solar farm
© Image credit: Dr Guy Parker

Jonny Williams, associate director of the BRE National Solar Centre, explained: “Solar farms are already the most popular local energy development but their potential to protect British wildlife is attracting huge interest…we have developed this specific biodiversity guidance to help conservation groups, communities, solar developers and planners deliver great results for nature.”

The guidance notes that solar farms typically occupy less than 5% of an installation site – leaving a large area of potential land to develop habitats, support local wildlife and encourage plant life.

The report also notes that there are a large number of options suitable for enhancing biodiversity on solar farms “from hedgerows to field margins to wild flower meadows to bird boxes and ponds. Each site is unique and there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution”.

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